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4th generation warfare: Non state actors have made civil society new frontier of war

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New Delhi, Dec 03: National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval in his recent address during the Passing Out Parade at the Hyderabad based Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy said that civil society is the new frontier of war.

Describing it as the fourth generation warfare, NSA Doval said that it is the responsibility of the police to protect the people from being subverted, divided and manipulated.

4th generation warfare: Non state actors have made civil society new frontier of war

A fourth generation war refers to a conflict in which a state loses its monopoly on war and is fighting non-state actors such as insurgents and terror groups. The first generation of war refers to a formal battlefield.

The second generation war refers to artillery fire, while the third to speed, surprise and infiltrate an enemy's military.

The NSA added that it is the civil society that can be subverted, divided and can be manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation. He said that this new frontier of war is characterised by uncertain outcomes.

William S Lind, a former Congressional aide and the author of many books and articles on military strategy writes that the fourth generation war is also marked by a return to a world of cultures. Islam has resumed the strategic offensive, expanding outward in every direction. At the core of the fourth generation war lies a universal crisis of legitimacy of the state and that crisis means many countries will evolve this war on their soil.

Lind further says that one of the key reasons the US did not succeed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is because they destroyed the state and created a happy hunting ground for fourth generation forces.

A fourth generation war is normally characterised by a violent non state actor fighting a state. The typical characteristics of a fourth generation war enemy are lack of hierarchical authority, lack of formal structure, flexibility and patience, a small size and the ability to remain patient when needed.

The key goals of a fourth generation warfare is to convince the enemy's political decision makers that their goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit. Another major goal is to survive.

The elements that make up a fourth generation war are complex and long term

Terrorism, non-national or transnational base - highly decentralised, direct attack on the enemy's culture, including genocidal acts against civilians. Such warfare occurs in low intensity conflict involving actors from all networks and insurgency tactics are also used.

Doval in his address said that no nation can debate where the rule of law has failed. People feel safe and secure when law enforcers are weak, corrupt or partisan.

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