Art of deception – Lesson for the Indian Government

“Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Indian Army has replied to the Uri attack in the usual manner, in which it has been doing for years now.

Commandos go behind enemy lines, and kill the terrorists even before they cross the Line of Control. But did you know this? Can you believe me when I say it has been happening since years?

This is the brilliance of Sun Tzu who realized the truth of deception 500 years before the birth of Christ. In fact the Chinese have been practicing this since decades, when they fooled Nehru with the famous “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” declaration of friendship and still attacked us in 1962.

India’s Special Forces have been serving the nation’s interests by striking behind enemy lines be it on the western front or on the eastern front. But it has never been revealed officially to maintain plausible deniability. They might have attacked or not, who knows?

India’s external intelligence has done several operations in Pakistan, our NSA Ajit Doval spent seven years in Pakistan but none of it was revealed in the public till long after it was completed.

The most important reason to maintain plausible deniability is to keep the enemy state confused and keep the International community on your side.

Suppose India never accepted the surgical strike, then Pakistan would be on tenterhooks. It is not easy to prove that the attack was done by state support. It might have been done by some non- state actors from India’s side. This brings to me to the second point – International Support.

India has always been held in regard as a mature democracy which doesn’t reply to provocations immaturely. Inspite of grave provocations, India always maintained restraint. All of the operations conducted by R&AW and Indian Army have never been revealed in the public domain. The shadow war between R&AW and ISI has raged on for years with none the wiser.

But, to placate the public anger and to answer to its core vote bank, Modi’s government had instructed the DGMO to hold a press conference and officially announce that India violated the territorial integrity of Pakistan.

I reiterate that I am in complete support of this surgical strike. Indeed in my previous article I mentioned this as a tool for retaliation. The issue here is that India has publicly accepted that its soldiers crossed into Pakistan to attack citizens of the opposite country and their soldiers, which is an act of war.

There is no proof that the Uri attackers were Pakistani Army soldiers or supported by the Pakistani Government. We can prove that they were Pakistanis and originated from Pakistan, but the link between the attackers and Pakistani government is tough to prove in any court of law.

Pakistanis have repeatedly said that India has not given proof for Pathankot or Uri, and it can’t be easily proven even in an International court, in case India took them to court. But India by admitting that it crossed into Pakistani territory and killed their citizens has made a major strategic faux pas.

This matter should have been kept a secret like for many operations have been, and in case Pakistanis blamed the India, we could maintain plausible deniability and punish Pakistan multiple times without escalating the issue on an international stage.

Now, Pakistan is on a high ground legally, and they can drum up International support against India’s violation of their territory. We were gaining momentum in isolating Pakistan internationally, which has been upset by this move of the Government

It is high time the Indian Government stopped publicly sharing strategic moves, be it in terms of Indus Water Treaty or surgical strikes and it’s the responsibility of media also to stay quiet in such matters and let India’s retaliation be swift and silent.

Profile photo of Chandrahas Rao
Chandrahas Rao is working as a Brand Manager in Pidilite Industries Limited. He holds a MBA degree from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune, and a B.E in Instrumentation from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune

Being from the Army background, he has experienced diverse cultures ranging from the North East to Kashmir. He has interests in Strategic Affairs, Foreign Policy, Indian Army and Marketing.