Kashmir conflict a tool of Psychological warfare

wilayattimes (Jammu and Kashmir)

Kashmir has always remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. In fact, there are three legitimate parties involved in this conflict—India, Pakistan, and the people of Kashmir.

By Arshad Askari

The violence of war is one thing, but what about another form of warfare that you can’t even see? This is the act of psychological warfare.

Psychological warfare is a broad term, but in all documented cases, the concept uses Psychological warfare is a broad term, but in all documented cases, the concept uses actions intended to reduce an opponent’s morale or mental well being. The aim is to use manipulative tactics to intimidate or persuade a person or people. This process is usually employed through propaganda. Propaganda is ideas or statements that are false or exaggerated and is deliberately spread to influence the masses. The goal of psychological warfare is to intentionally use propaganda to manipulate another and break down their will without using physical force.

Psychological Operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behaviour of organizations, groups, and individuals. Used in all aspects of war, it is a weapon whose effectiveness is limited only by the ingenuity of the commander using it.

A proven winner in combat and peacetime is one of the oldest weapons in the arsenal of man. It is an important force protector/combat multiplier and a non-lethal weapons system.

Psychological Operations or Psychological Warfare is simply learning everything about your target enemy, their beliefs, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Once you know what motivates your target, you are ready to begin psychological operations.

Psychological operations may be defined broadly as the planned use of communications to influence human attitudes and behaviour … to create in target groups behaviour, emotions, and attitudes that support the attainment of national objectives. The form of communication can be as simple as spreading information covertly by word of mouth or through any means of multimedia.

A psychological warfare campaign is a war of the mind. Your primary weapons are sight and sound. Psychological warfare can be disseminated by face-to-face communication, audio visual means (television), audio media (radio or loudspeaker), visual media (leaflets, newspapers, books, magazines and/or posters). The weapon is not how it’s sent, but the message it carries and how that message affects the recipient.

Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower defined psychological warfare as anything

“From the singing of a beautiful anthem up to the most extraordinary kind of physical sabotage.”

Used during peacetime, contingencies and declared war, these activities are not a form of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors to promote specific emotions, attitudes or behaviours. The ultimate objective any states military psychological operations is the dissemination of truthful information to foreign audiences in support of their policy and national objectives to convince enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces to take action favourable to their state and its allies.

An analysis of recent conflicts has demonstrated the value of psychological operations/warfare on and off the battlefield. As a result, military authorities are now beginning to accept the fact that psychological operations is a very special combat weapon…one that every military commander must consider employing, and defending against, if he is to accomplish his mission with minimum losses. This recognition of the important role of Psychological warfare has resulted in its integration into many training programs and tactical exercises, as well as the consideration of psychological operations employment in all future military operations.

There are three types of psychological operations – – Tactical, Strategic and Consolidation— can be employed to produce the following desired effects:

1. Reduce moral and combat efficiency within the enemy’s ranks.

2. Promote mass dissension within and defections from enemy combat units and/or revolutionary cadre.

3. Support our own and allied forces cover and deception operations. Promote cooperation, unity and morale within one’s own and allied units, as well as within resistance forces behind enemy lines.

Kashmir has always remained a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. In fact, there are three legitimate parties involved in this conflict—India, Pakistan, and the people of Kashmir. Each party has taken its own position on the question of Kashmir. For India, Kashmir is one of its integral parts, and hence this aspect is not open for dispute. For Pakistan, Kashmir represents a problem of partition, which is yet to be resolved. But for the people of J&K, Kashmir is not simply a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, and cannot be resolved without the involvement of those who are the main party in this dispute. None of the parties involved in the dispute has shown any flexibility at any time in their stated positions on Kashmir, and as a result the dispute continued until it assumed the greatest degree of ferocity and finally became, in recent years, a nuclear flash point. All of the bilateral agreements signed over the years between different parties have proven to be exercises in futility.

Mostly stated reason: India and Pakistan are nuclear powers – a war between the two concerns the whole world;

•             The conflict between India and Pakistan about Kashmir has turned into a conflict in Kashmir – human rights violations, terror-attacks. Fertile ground for recruiting future “rebels” …

•             “Grand narrative” of humiliation against Muslims – often named in one sentence with the Israeli occupation of Palestine and wars in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

•             The Kashmir-conflict is linked to Afghanistan.

•             Kashmir is more than a contested territory: Emotional attachment of India and Pakistan complicates and intensifies the conflict.

•             Both nations are not only afraid to lose a piece of land, but a part of their identity and that their pride, honour and egos get damaged

•             Negotiations fail because the ‘battle’ is fought on an intangible level, the level of emotions – the states denunciate each other instead of arguing about boundary settlements.

•             When two elephants fight, the grassroots suffer: Creation/revival of Kashmiri identity, demanding independence; this third party in the conflict is often ignored.

•             People from the Indian-subcontinent are generally very emotional. It’s their mentality. And the lack of education. People are uneducated because of poverty. Schools are expensive. Uneducated people are very emotional, there’s no rational thinking.

•             The Pakistani population is attached to Kashmir. Any negotiation by state leaders

would be perceived as a betrayal.

•             Kashmir’s fight against India. They are supported by foreign volunteers.

•             India will never give up Kashmir. For economic reasons. The 5 Punj Rivers come from Kashmir, 3 from the Indian side. India built many damps in its part of Kashmir and invested in the region.