Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


Balakote air strike and surgical strikes post Uri shared a few commons. Pakistani defence forces were taken by surprise and damage was inflicted through swift, precise actions. More importantly, public opinion was mobilised favourably both at the global and domestic levels. Post-strike information dissemination was well coordinated. At the strategic level, India gained moral ascendancy; at the military level, terrorist attacks on military establishments
came to a halt. We do not have to look far for examples of Information Manoeuvre coupled with kinetic action.

Military history is replete with examples of manoeuvre warfare wherein enemy’s decision-making ability and cognitive skills were highly impeded leading to resounding victories. With rapid advances in technology, a more profitable form of manoeuvre would be to win a war without even fighting for one. Information and Communication Technology and its manipulation of the Cyber space turn Information into a weapon in the hands of a contemporary thinking, smart ‘Strategician’. Undeniably, Information Manoeuvre is the evolving strategy to victory, victory without even going to war.

Information Manoeuvre will involve integration of all the tools of Net Centric capabilities, namely; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Cyber, Electronic and Information Warfare and Social Media. Its influence will be widespread to include the enemy public, government, infrastructure and even world opinion. As in case of all the previous forms of manoeuvre, ‘Information Manoeuvre’ too can be integrated with Kinetic Weapons to destroy a confused, disoriented and weakened enemy.

South Asia Defence and Strategic Review makes a beginning with this issue. We are confident that the discussion will continue with complementary contribution by the strategists and the specialists. We are grateful to the British Army’s 6 Division for contributing a comprehensive article on Information Manoeuvre Warfare. As the first military formation ever in this field, 6 Division, UK, are the pioneers.

India China standoff is making the headlines. In a bid to divert world’s attention from CORONA virus and South China Sea, PLA’s actions along the LAC dominated the discourse in the region and the world. Now in another surreptitious move, action seems to be shifting to West Asia. China’s recent engagement with Iran can have far reaching consequences in dominating Central Asia. As General Ata Hasnain points out in his brilliant analysis, it is not just about edging India out of the frame. It is far more sinister, with China shedding all pretences. Readers are advised to read this along with Sanjiv Langer’s piece on Afghanistan. For our readers keen on actions along the LAC, we recommend Gen Shankar’s article on dealing with China.

Acutely aware of the pleasure of holding and reading a print copy particularly during the monsoons while enjoying your cuppa Chai, I wish to assure our readers that we have and will continue to print irrespective of the challenges posed by Covid-19. For the hard core netizens, online version is always an option. Wish you a pleasant read.