1. There are levels of war, conflict is the preliminary stage or more appropriately cause of any conventional war. Then there are intensity levels in conflicts as well low, medium and high. In developing world LIC is a well known terminology because of its reoccurrences. Causes of LIC are same as of any conventional war. LIC is the start of any war if not handled properly. Likelihood of Low Intensity Conflict between Nuclear India and Pakistan over the core issue of Kashmir is much significant because chances of a full scale war are rare. In the prevailing deterrent environment Kashmir issue may trigger a LIC between India and Pakistan to attain any desired objectives under the umbrella of Nuclear Deterrence. These states may initiate LIC to check or to further strengthen their Deterrence. This article explains low intensity conflict with the case study of Kashmir.
High Intensity Conflict
2. High intensity conflict is merely a conventional war between two states or it is a state where conventional forces defeat its adversary’s military; the government falls, and directs the population to cooperate with the enemy; and the people comply. High-intensity conflict is the most efficient and direct method of war for a state with a force advantage.
Low Intensity Conflict
3. LIC is not large-scale conventional war. It is not limited conventional war. It is conflict in which exogenous actors have limited objectives, even though those of endogenous participants may be less limited. It is conflict in which the military component may superficially obscure more fundamental socioeconomic-political issues and goals. It is conflict most likely to arise in developing countries. It could involve high risks of escalation, but such risks probably will not be high or obvious at the offset. Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) can be defined as “a new type of war” which exists between “the Hot War” and “the Cold War”. It is a “conflict between a sub-state and a state” in which the former challenges the current state order. LIC may be initiated by freedom fighters that attempts to overthrow the central government and intends to govern the state in place of the present administration. A conflict between two states can also be considered within a category of LIC depending upon its intensity
Intensity of Conflict
4. The “intensity” of conflict can be measured in a variety of ways. The possible variables might be lethality of weapons systems employed, amount of death and destruction, number of people involved, quantity of material resources introduced, length of time “conflict” continues, and public perception. Low intensity conflict is a term that covers broad areas of military and non-military operations below the level of conventional combat between the regular armed conflicts. It is limited political and military struggle to achieve political, military, social and economical objectives within the conflict spectrum. LIC is distinguished from high and medium intensity conflict. The high and medium intensity conflicts are confined to war between regular forces, Low intensity are confine to the threat or use of forces below the level of regular conventional or nuclear conflict.
Sub-Divisions of LIC
5. The various conflicts that come under the ambit of LICs have two major subdivisions. Conflicts that comprise the dis-satisfied elements within the country would include within their ambit insurgencies, terrorism, revolutionary warfare, secessionist warfare, subversion and civil war. The second comprises conflicts involving other countries, including limited wars and‘ugly stability’ scenarios along the international boundaries in which the regular armies of the parties involved are deployed, as is the case in the conflict between India and Pakistan on the north-western border between the two, i.e., the LoC of Kashmir. Factors that have led to the conflicts under each of the two subdivisions would obviously differ. However, the two subdivisions are not watertight compartments. Conflicts under one may evolve so as to get classified under the other depending on the pressures applied by the two opposing sides or by the countries supporting them in the conflict. Moreover, changes in the level of intensity of a conflict may make it take a quantum jump from an LIC to an MIC and from there to an HIC.
6. At tactical level the LIC is identical to guerilla/anti-guerilla warfare. Guerilla warfare is the typical indirect approach employing irregular or unconventional use of force in wide spread, low intensity fashion rather than in massive concentration. It does not envisage territorial gains but rather is intended to drive of an adversary. Modern terrorism resembles GW in many tactical specifics and in the final objectives in crucial elements. The difference mainly is that terrorism does not attack military objectives but for non military civilian targets. The close civil military relation is essential to counter both guerilla and terrorist activities.
Causes of LIC
7. Causes of LIC may be territory, secession, decolonization, autonomy, system/ideology, national power, regional predominance or international power.
Categories of LICs
8. LIC can be categorized into six patterns like foreign, internal defense Pro-insurgency, Peacetime contingency operations, Terrorism counteraction, Anti-drug operations and Peace-keeping operations.
Case Study of Kashmir
9. In the Indo-Pakistan context, LIC theory is acquiring highly placed proponents, gaining its own doctrinal respectability, and even being advertised with historical precedents. India has long been frustrated by its inability to control the indigenous freedom movement in Kashmir. Kashmir has been described in the past as a paradise on earth. This paradise has unfortunately been bleeding.
Brief History of Kashmir
10. The history of Kashmir is traceable as far back as 4000 years B.C. The Muslims took over the reign of Kashmir in 1339 AD and ruled the state for 479 years. Kashmir remained under the rule of Afghans and Sikhs till 1846, when British East India Company defeated Sikhs. Kashmir was then sold to Raja Gulab Singh on March 9, 1846 for 75 lac only and thus began the reign of Dogra rulers on Kashmir. On 3rd June 1947, Lord Mount-Batten announced the Partition plan. According to this plan, the accession of independent states was left to the discretion of the ruler depending upon; geographical situation, composition of population and wishes of people. But it was the conspiracy between Jawar Lal Nehru, Lord Mount Batten and Hari Singh, which led the accession of Kashmir to India. The Maharaja signed the document of accession on 26 October 1947 and it was accepted by Lord Mount-Batten on 27 October 1947. The people of Kashmir revolted against this decision and consequently Indian troops landed in Srinagar on 27 October 1947.In response the Pathan tribesmen also move into Kashmir and in October, 1948 the war started. Indian forces failed to control the situation and on January 1st 1948 and took the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council, which passed a resolution on the matter that says “The question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan, should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”. To hold the plebiscite under UN supervision, on Jan 20, 1949, the UN Security Council passed another resolution establishing the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). The commission went to Kashmir and after lengthy consultations with both India and Pakistan passed two resolutions; the resolution of 13th August 1948 and 5th January 1949. These were accepted by both India and Pakistan and were also endorsed by Security Council. Taken together, these resolutions provide for cease fire, demarcation for the cease-fire line, demilitarization of the state and a free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted by the UN. On July 27, 1949 India and Pakistan signed the cease-fire Agreement, resulting in occupation of two third of Kashmir by India. In September 1965, a rebellion in Kashmir escalated into a full scale war between India and Pakistan. Again in 1971 fighting broke out on the Kashmir cease fire line when the Bangladesh separatist movement supported by India precipitated a war between India and Pakistan. A full blown resistance movement in India held Kashmir started in 1989, and Delhi greatly augmented its troops deployment (nearly 500, 000) in Kashmir. India-Pakistan tension increased accordingly. In 1996, the Indian government insisted on holding elections in J & K for the first time since 1989. The National Conference, which now supports autonomy within the Indian Union, won a clear majority in elections and formed the government.
Indian and Pakistan Stance
11. The United Nations Security Council mandate is always interpreted by India as it understands that Security Council can only recommend but is not empowered to dictate solution. India believes that the Kashmiri people have already exercised their right of self determination in the elections held from time to time. Since independence, Delhi has changed its tactics towards Kashmir and at present official stance is that Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union. In contrast, Pakistan has extremely consistent policy on Kashmir. It maintains that Kashmir is a disputed territory and must be resolved by a plebiscite under the UN auspices.
12. Now after Nuclearization of South Asia, Kashmir has become a nuclear flash point and any minor adventurism may cause the outbreak of a full fledge Nuclear war. An example is the problem in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which Pakistan sees as an indigenous struggle for independence and the Indians as a proxy war waged by promoting cross-border terrorism. It is often said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Pakistan and India have fought three full scale ars over the issue of Kashmir, and still the problem stands still despite numerous bi-lateral talks at various levels, CBMs and mediation from international community. Chances of LIC over the issue of Kashmir are the most profound factor and also part of their war doctrines. Conventional forces of both the countries always remain ready to under take low intensity conflict being emerged from Kshmir at the start of year 2013 also witnessed unprovoked shelling from Indian side at line of control. So it’s a really bleeding issue between these two nuclear powers and if not controlled/handled prudently would trigger a LIC at any time.
The Future of LICs in Kashmir
13. The future of LICs in Kashmir is clear to all those willing to read the signs present in the history of such conflicts. The history of LICs in Kashmir is a reflection of the future. The near future promises the continuance of LICs in a variety of forms. Indian Lieutenant General Mathew Thomas says about LIC in Kashmir “Given the nuclear weaponisation of both the countries (India and Pakistan), they have improved their balance of power, and given the implications, as it was shown during the Kargil War and in the aftermath of attack on Parliament, that it (Pakistan) is safe as far as it doesn’t formally declare a war or undertake a large scale formal operation against us. Tactical preference will be low intensity conflict”.
14. In general, LIC appears to be used as a general term for terrorism, guerrillas, racial or religious disputes, etc., but it is an obscure concept that simply covers armed conflicts other than nuclear wars and conventional wars between major powers. Low intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of armed force. It is waged by a combination of means employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. It is not central war involving both the home territories and military forces of the superpowers, nuclear or non-nuclear. In Kashmir LIC is an’ inherited or historical perspective which have roots in the Independence period. On the other hand, this issue has aggravated over the years by a variety of factors. Comparatively it’s easier for India to engage Pakistan in low intensity conflict rather to increase its intensity for a medium or high scale conflict. It will not only cost effective but also help India to negate international pressure over the issue. On the other side Pakistan should be prudent enough to handle the matter sensibly because both states should be cognizant of the fact that in the particular case study of Kashmir any LIC would have direct bearing for nuclear war.