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March 27, 2021

NUST organises webinar on hybrid warfare


March 27, 2021

Islamabad : NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) organised a high-level webinar on the new-century dynamics of hybrid warfare here.

The seminar discussed the anatomy and characteristics of contemporary hybrid warfare. Speaking at the occasion, Dr Leonid Savin, a Russian geopolitical expert and global authority on the subject, characterised hybrid warfare as a combination of conventional and unconventional military and non-military means aimed at overthrowing rival political regimes and destabilising adversaries’ social orders.

Dr Savin stated that many countries, including Russia and Pakistan, had been targets of hybrid warfare attacks and campaigns in recent years. He underscored the need for transnational cooperation for coordinating an effective response against this global threat.

Ejaz Haider, executive editor at Indus News, considered that indirect warfare typified by hybrid warfare needed to be contextualised properly as a concerted strategy for simultaneous and synchronised exploitation of multiple domestic and local fault lines to reduce the system’s capacity for survival. He was of the view that only by promoting and prioritising a patient, participatory, horizontal, growth-led and consensus-based negotiation of political differences could a developing country like Pakistan hope to counter non-linear conflict.

Lt Gen (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, former caretaker defence minister, highlighted the need for distinguishing between hybrid warfare and different generations of warfare after the fourth generation warfare. He stressed the need for active civil-military cooperation and public-private collaboration in Pakistan for not only studying but also countering hybrid warfare threats.

Air Chief Marshal (r) Kaleem Saadat, president Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS), proposed that it was essential to develop broadly accessible means for the systematic fulfillment of people’s aspirations for a better life as a long-term strategy against hybrid warfare.

Owais Ghani, former governor of Balochistan and KPK, emphasised the need for inculcating greater awareness about the general and specific features of hybrid warfare among political and community leadership.

Dr Shoaib Suddle, former director general Intelligence Bureau, opined that societies with major development and growth deficits tended to be especially vulnerable targets of hybrid warfare.

Veteran Russian expert, Dr Vladimir P Kozin, leading expert at the Center for Military-Political Studies, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) of the Russian Foreign Ministry, shared that one of the advisors of Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, had recently coined the term “mental hybrid warfare” to denote systematic activity aimed at the destruction of people’s national consciousness and national identity to paralyse their will to defend themselves.

Lt Gen (r) Tariq Waseem Ghazi, former Defence Secretary and former President of National Defence University, put forward the novel idea of establishing “hybrid peace” as a response to hybrid warfare activity.

Dr Shahid Mahmud, chairman & CEO Interactive Group, highlighted the importance of technology and the command of appropriate cross-domain technology-based platforms for mounting a successful response in economic, political, financial, commercial, and informational domains against hybrid warfare activity.

Engr Suleman Najib Khan, noted water expert and Convener, Water Resource Development Council, termed India’s undeclared water war against Pakistan a devastating prong of its hybrid warfare against the latter.

Other prominent speakers included Vice Admiral (r) Waseem Akram; Lt Gen (r) Masood Aslam; Ambassador (r) Shahid Amin; VC Institute of Space Technology Maj Gen (r) Rehan Abdul Baqi; and Maj Gen (r) Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery.

The webinar was attended by Pakistani and foreign experts, scholars and students.