The new frontiers of war is civil society, which can be manipulated to hurt a nation’s interests, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said at the passing out parade of the 73rd batch of IPS probationers at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVP NPA) in Hyderabad on 12 November.
Doval was the chief guest at the Dikshant Parade, which is the culmination of the 46-week long phase-1 basic course training. He said:
“The new frontiers of war, what you call the fourth-generation warfare, is the civil society.. [conventional] wars have ceased to become an effective instrument for achieving political or military objectives. They are too expensive or unaffordable and, at the same time, there is uncertainty about their outcome. But civil society can be subverted, suborned, divided, manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation.”
The fourth generation warfare is characterised by the blurring of lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians. The enemy power uses tactics of education or propaganda, building social movements, etc.
Short of a defeat, fourth generation warfare tries simply to disorganise and delegitimise the state, force it to expend resources on maintaining internal law and order, etc. It combines the elements of psychological manipulation, disinformation, cyberwarfare, using proxies like terror groups, etc.
An example of fourth generation warfare is visible in China’s long-term policy of ‘strategic containment’ of India. It is not only assisting Pakistan to develop and deploy nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles; backing political parties and individuals in India’s neighbouring South Asian countries to undermine their relations with India, but also supporting anti-national groups in India, giving them funds, arms, etc.
NSA To IPS Probationers
The NSA, who graduated from the National Police Academy 52 years ago, gave his wisdom to the young probationers. Stating that people are the most important, Doval told the future IPS officers, “You are there to see they stand fully protected.”
He asked the young…