Home Contact Us
Search :
   

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3036, 4 January 2010
 
Future Conflict Scenarios
Gurmeet Kanwal
Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi
e-mail: gurmeetkanwal@gmail.com
 

Though the year 2009 witnessed marginal improvement in India’s external security environment, internal security continued to deteriorate in view of the heightened activities of the Maoist-Naxalite terrorists. The unstable regional security environment, unresolved territorial and boundary disputes with China and Pakistan and continuing internal security challenges pose serious national security threats to India.

China: Contours of a Conflict over Territory

Future conventional conflicts on the Indian Sub-continent will flow out of unresolved territorial and boundary disputes in Jammu and Kashmir and along the unsettled border with China. While the probability of a conflict with China is low, patrol face-offs in no man’s land are common and these could result in armed clashes leading to another border conflict. Such a conflict is likely to be limited in area and the application of force levels. Though the conflict is likely to be predominantly a land battle, air power will need to be employed extensively, including attack helicopters and armed helicopters.

Extensive use will be made of artillery firepower from 155mm howitzers and long range rocket launchers. The Chinese may resort to the employment of conventionally-armed short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) against Indian forces, communications centres, logistics installations and choke points. Though a conflict at sea is highly unlikely in the 2020-25 time frame, the PLA Navy may be expected to begin operating in the northern Indian Ocean region by about 2015, ostensibly to safeguard China’s sea lanes for oil, gas and trade. Consequently, Indian Navy ships are likely to be shadowed by PLA submarines and occasionally even by surface ships particularly during naval exercises.

Pakistan: Another War over Kashmir?

It is now emerging clearly that the Pakistan army is unlikely to allow the new civilian dispensation to govern unfettered. Hence, hostility towards India will remain a key objective of Pakistan’s security policies. The present cease-fire along the LoC will hold only as long as it suits the Pakistan army’s interests. The Pakistan army and ISI will continue to encourage, aid and abet infiltration across the LoC. The most likely conflict scenario is that of another Kargil-type misadventure. This time it may be executed with help from LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen sleeper cells by occupying terrain features in remote areas like Hill Kaka and the Shamsabari range north of Bandipur. They may declare these as liberated zones. However, large-scale conflict is unlikely as India will once again exercise restraint. Ground and air delivered firepower will be extensively employed. India may choose to strike across the LoC at carefully selected targets with its air force.

Fighting on the LoC is likely to be limited in scope. Rear area security will be a major issue and will require large numbers of para-military personnel as terrorists will disrupt the move of army convoys and supplies. The probability of the conflict spilling over to the plains sector is extremely limited. In the maritime domain, the Pakistan navy will adopt a defensive posture. However, the Pakistan navy will lose no opportunity to encourage and even abet terrorist strikes on Indian assets such as oil and gas rigs and shipping. The Pakistan navy is likely to operate with a greater degree of confidence once Chinese PLA navy ships begin to use the Gwadar port as a naval base.

Internal Security Challenges

A low-grade insurgency will continue to fester in J&K despite serious government efforts at reconciliation. However, the situation in the north-eastern states will gradually improve due to socio-economic growth political maturity. The worst internal security challenge will come from the rising tide of Left Wing Extremism or Maoist/Naxalite terrorism as the state and central governments continue to waver in their approach. The Maoists will challenge the state by bringing small towns in the tribal belt under their political and security control. At this stage, the army will be called in to stem the rot even though it neither has the numbers nor the wherewithal to intervene effectively over thousands of square kilometers of jungle-covered terrain. Countries inimical to India will exploit the situation by providing arms, ammunition, equipment and financial support to the Maoists.

Urban Terrorism: The New Scourge

Home-grown Indian Jihadis are increasingly joining the pan-Islamic ‘movement’. Groups like the Indian Mujahideen will become more sophisticated in their attacks. They will more difficult to apprehend as they will form cellular structures in which no terrorist will know more than two other people. Terrorists with software expertise may launch cyber attacks on computer-controlled communications, transportation, power and commercial networks to cripple the Indian economy. Maritime and chemical and biological terrorism will increase considerably. While the probability of nuclear terrorism is low, radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) may be used to spread panic and create hysteria. India will also need to enhance its vigil over its island territories as South-east Asian terrorist organizations will use these as secure bases.

All of these emerging threats will require far greater intelligence effort than has been the case so far and comprehensive inter-ministerial, inter-departmental, inter-agency and inter-security forces coordination to defeat successfully.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Stronger Democratic Values for a Better Tomorrow
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
India-Pakistan: Working Boundaries and Lines of Uncontrolled Fire
Of Inquilab and the Inquilabis
 
Dateline Kabul
Mariam Safi
Af-Pak: A Fresh Start
Can Afghanistan Become a "Perfect Place?"
Afghanistan: Political Crises After the Presidential Run-off
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Abe’s Successful Visit to Dhaka: Two Political Challenges

Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?
Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response
East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
Abe-Xinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
South Korea's Foreign Policy: More Rhetoric, Less Content?
India in East Asia: Modi’s Three Summit Meets

Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
The Future of SAARC is Now
China in Nepal: Increasing Connectivity Via Railways
India-Nepal Hydroelectricity Deal: Making it Count
Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
Modi in Myanmar: From ‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’
The ASEAN's Centrality in the Indo-Pacific Region
Myanmar's Political Transition: Challenges of the 2015 Election

Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir
Pakistan: Why is Army against Nawaz Sharif?
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations
Maritime Terrorism: Karachi as a Staging Point

Middle Kingdom
Srikanth Kondapalli
China and Japan: Will the Twain Never Meet?
Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping: Building a Closer Developmental Partnership
Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age

Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls
Naxalites and the Might of a Fragile Revolution
Six Thousand Plus Killed: The Naxal Ideology of Violence
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obama’s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
War against the Islamic State: Political and Military Responses from the Region
The Islamic State: No Country for the Old World Order
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile
Uranium and Nuclear Power: Three Indian Stories

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Strategic Estrangement: An Odd Bedfellow to Economic Engagement
The Islamic State Caliphate: A Mirage of Resurrection
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?
Modi’s US Visit: So Much Promise, Such Little Outcome

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
Regional Economic Architecture: Is India Ready?
Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India-China: Securitising Water

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Ruhee Neog,
"‘Nuclear Weapons, Costs and Myths’: In Response," 16 September 2013
Rana Divyank Chaudhary,
"Dialogue as Foreign Policy," 24 June 2013
Jayadeva Ranade,
"China, Tibet & Beijing's New Thinking," 24 June 2013
Rana Divyank Chaudhary,
"IPCS Discussion: China and its Internal Periphery," 8 March 2013
J Jeganaathan,
"Pakistan's Trespass at LOC: Is 'Kargil Plan 2.0' Underway?," 28 February 2013
N Manoharan,
"Hyderabad Terror Attacks: Road-blocks in the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC)," 27 February 2013
Shanta Maree Surendran,
"China, Gwadar and Sea Lanes of Communication: ‘Economic Offence’ or ‘Active Defence’?," 25 February 2013
Ali Ahmed,
"India-Pakistan: Winds of Change?," 23 April 2012
Ali Ahmed,
"NCBMs: Scaremongering, But with a Purpose," 15 February 2012
Gunjan Singh,
"China’s Leadership Dilemma: Development or Environment?," 15 February 2012

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Indian Army & Operational Preparedness: Agenda for the New Chief

India-US: Nuclear Ayatollahs and the Politics of Non-proliferation

India-Pakistan and Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Implications of Hatf-9

RIP: Jasjit Singh (1934-2013)

China’s Defence Policy: Major Projections and Missing Links

Urban Terrorism: India Must Get its Act Together

Emulate Operation Abbottabad?: Yes India Can

Humanitarian Intervention in Libya

Nuclear India's Weapons of Peace: Ten Years after Pokhran-II

Indo-US Defence Co-operation: Full Steam Ahead

Indo-US Nuclear Deal and Non-proliferation: Some Views from the US

Indo-US Nuclear Deal: In Need of Resuscitation

Is Musharraf Losing Control?

Joint Operations in the Mountains

India: Need for an Air Assault Brigade and Rapid Reaction Force

How many Nuclear Warheads does India Need?

Siachen Conflict and the Indo-Pak Rapprochement

Indo-Pak CBMs: Slow March to Peace

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006
 2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
 1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com