1.0 Wars – Why, What and Whereto War is a matter of vital importance to the state – Sun Tzu
Despite the centuries of civilization, human race is not able to avoid war. Wars will remain till human beings exist. Therefore, to study ways of avoiding, prosecuting if imposed, sustaining and supporting wars is an essential activity of a modern nation. The present day knowledge-based world is influencing the way the wars are carried out today and will impact wars of future. These wars will be greatly affected by the fundamental changes taking place in the global geo-strategic environment and the increasing role of political, cultural and socio-economic factors in the overall security equations. Technology, however, is having a sweeping influence on the wars of this century.
The advances taking place in information technology, military electronics, surveillance capabilities and precision guidance need to be understood and exploited to the full extent within the formulation of the military doctrine. The fact should be understood that the present day military hardware such as aircraft, ships and tanks have been reduced to the status of only a platform for carrying precision guided munitions, sensors and missiles. Unless these platforms are enmeshed and integrated in the nation-wide security system, their value is minimal. Therefore, the key to the future is integration. The military doctrine should encompass and bind together the whole spectrum of diverse forces into an effective whole that can be used as a capable striking force that no enemy force can match.
A war, statistically speaking, is a rare event. It is also an exceedingly costly and disruptive form of interaction between people and states. A war indicates that level of
bilateral relationship between two states, which exists from the time first mobilization of troops, is called for against the other side till peace is reached. This view of war implying only active armed conflict however is a restrictive definition. Here it is assumed that war/conflict is in operation, from the moment a state decides upon a policy of armed resistance or inclination to counter an external/ internal threat with military ramifications, to the time the solution of the active threat is achieved or it is made dormant. Modern day wars have been defined at three levels of increasing intensity though not necessarily increasing complexity and duration (See Fig. 1). At the first level is the most prevalent form of warfare, i.e., Low Intensity Conflict (LIC). The LIC is defined as a conflict between irregular forces, mercenaries, revolutionaries, terrorists, etc., and the regular, conventional armed forces of a nation. The biggest challenge facing the conventionally armed forces of a nation, which are trained and equipped for fighting against the conventionally armed forces of the enemy, is to deal with LIC. The Mid Intensity Conflict (MIC) is the conventional warfare that is indoctrinated in the regular armed forces of the world. With the advent of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), the chances of High Intensity Conflict (HIC), which is defined as a conflict involving WMDs, are increasing. As is evident from Fig 1., the probability of occurrence of a LIC is high and also the duration of such conflicts is more. This is due to the fact that LIC is a continuous process, which the armed forces all over the world have found hard to contain. The probability of WMD based HIC is low compared to LIC/MIC. However, a threat which this spectrum misses out is the possibility that, WMDs may fall in the hands of irregulars engaged in an LIC. This will bring the conflict to HIC levels, where the nation fighting the insurgents or irregulars will suffer. Therefore, the armed forces of a modern nation need equipment, force structure and doctrine to deal with threats at all three levels of intensity. These armed forces should strive to achieve a balanced force structure to deal with hi-tech conventional threats from other forces and to deal with low to medium technology LICs on the other hand.
A basic question that arises, however, is that why does nations fight? What are the causes of conflicts? Why do we need to maintain considerable armed forces and spend huge amounts on their maintenance? To answer these questions, we have to look into the history of warfare.