Warfare of the 21st Century: From the dawn of time to the present day, humans have come a long way in terms of advancement and development but one thing that has remained constant is the never-ending cycle of violence. It’s in human nature to have conflicts and fight wars. Even in the stone age, objects like stones and sticks were weaponized to kill. The techniques and the methods of warfare have evolved and changed over the period of time.
In ancient times, the great ‘Chanakya’ in his book ‘Arthashastra’ discussed techniques or Nitis of the warfare which are still very relevant today: SAAM DAAM DAND BHED. Each Niti has its own importance and significance in the current world. Saam can be referred to as using diplomacy or communication as a weapon, Daam as using the economy or money as a weapon, Dand can be interpreted as the armed forces (Airforce, Navy, Army, Police), and Bhed as the intelligence agencies (spying) or as the divide and rule tactic.
The conventional warfare techniques of the Airforce, Navy, and Army come under the umbrella of DAND. Most of the major countries and even ancient empires have a strong spy network. The role of spies is to gather sensitive information about the enemy and use that information against them. This technique can be referred to as BHED.
Let’s look at some of the modern warfare techniques: Narrative/ Psychological/ Informative warfare, Chemical, Biological and Nuclear warfare, Economical warfare, Space warfare, Naval, Aerial and Ground warfare.
The weaponization of Social Media and Media
Social media and the media nowadays have been used as a weapon to influence mass opinion. One can alter the reality or the truth by using propaganda on social media and news outlets. This method comes under the umbrella of Narrative/ Psychological/ Informative warfare, where the facts or the information can be twisted or manipulated by a certain group(s) so that the narrative and the context of the situation can be altered and their own purpose or propaganda can be fulfilled.
To understand this, let’s look at an example, just imagine if someone makes a movie on Hilter with the aim or propaganda of portraying him as a hero and the protector of human rights, the goal here would be to change the narrative and feed wrong information about him to the viewers. But, in reality, he did genocide. So, this movie may aim to affect the psychology of the people and to make people start thinking of him as a hero for the human race. In this example, information was used as a weapon to change the narrative and psychology of the people. In the practical modern-day world, many organizations and countries are using this method to control the people. This warfare technique can be referred to as ‘Saam’.
The weaponization of Economy
We live in a world, where everything tends to revolve around money. Money is an important parameter in the war. Let us consider examples of the U.S.A and China to understand this, both of them use economy or money as a weapon to destroy the enemy country. The USA has imposed economical sanctions on many countries, since globally the trade is done in USD (US Dollars), so by imposing sanctions the country can not trade in USD with anyone, which may lead to the economical fall of the country like Iran. China provides huge loans to many countries for various projects like the construction of seaports, highways, and airports, etc. at undisclosed interest rates. When the country fails to repay the loan amount, then china takes over that land or property on lease. In Sri Lanka, the Hambantota Port is now owned by China due to non-repayment of loans and in fact, they are building a Colombo Port City where only Chinese nationals will be allowed and the currency that will be used is the Chinese Yuan, so technically it will be a Chinese colony. In Pakistan also many properties and land are given to China on lease due to non-payment of loans, eventually leading to becoming a colony of China. In this strategy, one can destroy or colonize a country without boots on the ground. This method of warfare is referred to as ‘Daam’.
One may have a perception of war as good or bad but in reality, it’s not going anywhere, in fact at the current moment, we are at war. The road to a global superpower is to follow the principles of Chanakya. We will discuss more various kinds of warfare techniques and the philosophy of SAAM DAAM DAND BHED in the second part of the article.
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2 thoughts on “The Warfare of the 21st Century: SAAM DAAM DAND BHED”
Very informative and important