India-Israel hybrid war on Pakistan & Pegasus | By Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi


India-Israel hybrid war on Pakistan & Pegasus

THE revelation—that both India and Israel have used an Israeli made spyware (Pegasus) — has introduced a new evil dimension in India’s ongoing hybrid warfare against Pakistan.

India and its like-minded nations have grown proficient at using hybrid-warfare tactics in order to undermine Pakistan’s national security.

They have been using terrorism, spreading fake news, propaganda and rumours through social media by employing cyber technology and exploiting societal fault lines.

While polarizing the society and creating a rift among the state institutions through hybrid warfare means, India has been keeping engaged Pakistani defence forces by enduring military tension.

Thus, the situation warrants, that Islamabad should adopt a compressive policy involving the entire nation to encounter hybrid warfare aggression.

The concept of hybrid warfare existed in history indoctrinating that, “To fight and conquer is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s will without fighting”.

A military strategist, Kautilya, wrote Arthashastra. His postulates are still relevant to hybrid warfare; diplomacy, information warfare, subversion, sabotage and covert operations.

Arthashastra suggested the techniques of concealed warfare, in which the use of irregular forces, ambushes, treachery in the enemy’s camp, were prominent factors; another was silent warfare, which includes the use of allies, vassals, tribal chiefs and suborned friends of the enemy.

Therefore, the conceptualization and contextualization of Hybrid Warfare are imperative for avoiding the doctrinal lag.

The term ‘Hybrid’ was commonly used in 2005-2006 due to the Israel-Hezbollah war (“Lessons from Lebanon: Hezbollah and Hybrid Wars — Foreign Policy Research Institute” 2016) .

Though, every nation has to chalk out Hybrid warfare stratagem according to its own peculiar national security challenges, realizing the new dimension of a threat, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa alarmed that Pakistan needs a comprehensive strategy to combat the menace of hybrid conflict.

It remains no more a secret that Israel and India are viciously involved in a joint evil act of espionage.

Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak.

The IPI global press freedom network has called for an immediate government inquiry into the alleged spyware attacks targeting journalists in Hungary using the Pegasus tool—which was developed by the Israeli cyber security company NSO Group.

An international consortium of news outlets reported that several [both authoritarian and democratic] governments — used spyware developed by NSO Group to hack into the phones of thousands of their most vocal critics, including journalists, activists, politicians and business executives.

Therefore, the purpose of Hybrid Warfare is not to achieve immediate victory, but to hit the soft targets of the adversary, isolate it and demoralize it before actual war.

Against this backdrop, India has been waging hybrid warfare in Pakistan, based on Ajit Doval’s Doctrine—sponsoring vicious tactics of state-terrorism.

Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval’s doctrine indicates India’s hybrid warfare ambitions against Pakistan.

The doctrine envisages engaging the enemy at three levels, defensive, defensive-offensive and offensive.

The offensive-defensive mode requires going into Pakistan and tackling the problem where it originated which is a fabrication.

As his [in-]famous statement is on record in which he said that you do one Mumbai you may lose Baluchistan and further said that India will unconventionally use conventional means to achieve its goals which are part of hybrid warfare.

Pakistan’s national security is encountering both traditional and non-traditional or sub-conventional security challenges.

The policymakers have adequately addressed the traditional security challenges, ie, external military threats. Still, the state and society remain vulnerable to non-traditional security challenges, particularly, sub-conventional and Hybrid Warfare.

oth state and non-state actors are employing hybrid warfare tactics. The changing characteristics of warfare or aggression certainly require reformation in the prevalent national security approaches.

Pakistan’s adversaries — both India and Israel — have been operating below the threshold of conventional warfare — using a blend of military and paramilitary tools, including proxy forces, such as radicalized militants and ethnic separatists, cyber weapons and information operations to coerce and shape its policies to their advantage.

Generally, to identify the perpetrators in hybrid warfare, the governments usually vie for the help of private individuals.

Big companies are doing this with the help of the governments. By now, Pegasus remains a weapon of hybrid warfare.

Needless to say, India is struck on several fronts, isolating Pakistan from the rest of the world. It has openly financed terrorism in Pakistan for many years. History is richly evident of India’s multifaceted involvement in destablong Pakistan.

An Indian agent named Kulbushan Jadhav, who worked under the alias Hussain Mubarak Patel, who was apprehended at Pak-Iran border by border security forces in 2016, and whose case has been recently tried by the ICJ, he confessed to being an Indian Navy officer recruited by the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He claimed that his purpose was to inflict insurgency in Balochistan.

These insurgent groups were funded financially and equipped militarily to fight against the government of Pakistan.

These separatist groups include the Balochistan Liberation Army, the Baloch Republican Army and the Baloch Liberation Front. India completely denied any relation with the spy.

“The Pegasus Project lays bare how NSO’s spyware is a weapon of choice for repressive governments seeking to silence journalists, attack activists and crush dissent, placing countless lives in peril,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

PM Imran Khan’s phone number was on a list of what the investigation by a group of 17 international media organisations and Amnesty International said were potential surveillance targets for countries that bought the spyware.

Pakistan’s foreign office issued a statement accusing India of “state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms of responsible state behaviour.

“In view of the gravity of these reports, we call on the relevant UN bodies to thoroughly investigate the matter, bring the facts to light, and hold the Indian perpetrators to account,” it said.

—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.

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