The term low intensity conflict (LIC) has come into prominence in the recent past and is considered to be a threat to reckon with. However, subversion, sabotage, terrorism, insurgency and civil war are the known perceptions of this type of war1. The end of cold war has given rebirth to this form of war. As a consequence, every country in this world is facing this challenge and is combating it in one form or the other. However, its effects are more pronounced in the Third World and under developed countries, primarily owing to economic deprivation and distressing social and democratic systems. In Indo-Pak environments, there are vulnerabilities within the internal dynamics, offering paradigm opportunities for launching of LIC2. 2.
Individuals and groups who felt deprived or aggrieved resorted to violence when they felt that there was no chance for them to achieve their aims by peaceful means. A world overview since the Second World War reveals a world with a high potential for violent conflict. Due to a variety of reasons, subversion and insurgencies have replaced the conventional wars. Such conflicts seek to alter political, social and economic order in a country. These conflicts during the past half century have been known by many names like "Small Wars, Regional Wars, Revolutionary Wars, Struggle for National Liberation, Guerrilla Wars, Insurgencies, Low Intensity Conflicts” etc. Liddle Hart observes, " Campaigns of this kind are more likely to continue because it is the only kind of war that fits the conditions of the modern age, while at the same time, is suited to take advantage of social discontent, racial ferment and nationalist fervors"3. 3.
The term LIC was introduced in the 1960's. It refers to a situation between peace and a full scale use of weapons in a conventional war. During such a situation there is extensive diplomatic, economic and psychological activity, but its primary feature is the covert or overt use of military force short of wars. A LIC for one nation could be a total war for another. Therefore the common perception of LIC in the West and USA may not quite fit the nature of these conflicts in the Third World. However, major forces that contribute to LIC are change, discontent, violence and instability. These interact to create an environment conducive to LIC. In our regional context with ethnic turmoil, religious intolerance, geo-strategic interdependence, multifaceted socio-economic problems provide a fertile ground for the LIC. 4.
Since its inception, Pakistan Army has continually remained committed in LIC. We have gained invaluable experience during our counter insurgency operations in East Pakistan and Balochistan in the early 1970's. Employment of Army on Internal Security Duties in Karachi, in rural areas of Sindh and in other parts of the country have also provided us tremendous experience, while other modern armies of the world including India have intensely dilated on this nature of war, the subject has remained relatively unexplored until very recently in our Army. We need to be well versed with the concept of LIC , well equipped and well trained to meet such a threat in any future scenario. 5.
It is believed that due to emerging globalisation, presence of nuclear deterrence and prohibitive cost of war in economic terms, possibility of a conventional war between India and Pakistan appears remote in foreseeable future. However, due to unsettled disputes and deep seated rivalries, the atmosphere of hostility between the two countries will always exist. In such a scenario the Low Intensity mode stands out as a more viable alternative. This calls for a greater understanding of LIC and a need to be prepared to deal with it both at national and military level.
To examine the threat of LIC faced by Pakistan with a view to suggesting a comprehensive response to tackle this menace.
GENESIS OF LIC
SPECTRUM OF CONFLICT4
Conflicts can be...
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