From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 3- Information war against India
Information war waged against India from across the border needs consideration. Three factors have triggered the war in the realm of information. This article examines the way in which it is perpetrated.
- Following three triggers are responsible for Pakistan’s information war.
- 1) The Balakot attack of February 2019.
- Balakot demolished Pakistan’s presumed nuclear equivalence that guaranteed that India would not retaliate against terrorist attacks
- 2) The return of the BJP government in the May 2019 elections-which signalled that India would follow aggressive muscular policy.
- 3) The August 2019 revision of Article 370.
- The Article 370 decision demolished the centrepiece of Pakistan’s nationalism build on Kashmir.
- The move also raised apprehensions about India’s plans for Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
- These developments have forced it to shift the emphasis of its anti-India strategy from fomenting terrorism supported by an information war component to an information war supported by terrorism.
How the information war is waged
- The ISI and the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) two main instruments for the furtherance of this policy.
- The ISPR has, over the years, recruited thousands of youth, trained them in the mechanics of social media and used them to project anti-India themes.
- The core Pakistani objective is to demolish “Brand India” by attacking its key components — an inclusive and secular society, democratic polity, decisive government, a developing economic powerhouse and strong foreign policy.
- The expectation is that such a strategy would adversely impact India’s secular and democratic credentials, scare foreign investment and lead to questions about its international image.
- The key platforms for this strategy are Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook.
- A large number of fake social media accounts, especially on Twitter, have been created.
- The use of handles with phoney Middle Eastern identities is the latest addition to its bag of tricks.
Themes of information war
- Internal developments and dissent in India have been manipulated, packaged and used to develop a narrative damaging India’s social fabric.
- On J&K, the key themes are: Kashmir is a “disputed territory” awaiting solution under the UN resolutions; India needs to talk to Pakistan to resolve the issue and since India refuses to talk, there must be international intervention, the Indian Army is violating the human rights of Kashmiris.
Consider the question “Internet has made waging information war easier. Examine the threat posed by the information war to Indian polity. Suggest the measures to contain the threat emanating from the information war.”
Even though the Indian polity is strong, such persistent venomous attacks can temporarily damage our social fabric. We must not allow ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, to fall prey to such machinations to polarise society, even temporarily.