History of Landwarfare

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Land Warfare

The history of land warfare is as old as the history of mankind. The last few centuries of well documented history shows that warfare has been an important tool of statecraft, for projection of interests of a nation state, and land warfare its most important instrument. The advent of technology following the industrial revolution, marked a major change in the conduct of land warfare on account of the enhanced reach, intensity and lethality of weapons. Advancements in air and naval power added new dimensions to the conduct of land warfare. Today, warfare is conducted in all dimensions- space, cyber, sea, air, land and sub-surface. Therefore, for the successful conduct of land warfare in future, joint planning and execution would be essential prerequisites.

Due to the awesome weaponry, which can be delivered from air and from sophisticated missiles, it is often stated that the days of land warfare are now over. These are perhaps superficial conclusions, because recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, though asymmetric in nature, have proved that such weaponry can perhaps facilitate victory but can not ensure it. Land forces have to be committed in combat to bring the conflict to a desired end.

Sub-conventional, non-conventional and irregular wars have added new dimensions to land warfare. The world is simmering with innumerable hot spots, where sub-conventional and asymmetric conflicts are being fought over many issues, ranging from ethnicity to sovereignty. This dimension is perhaps the new face of land warfare. In future, conventional wars may be very few, but sub-conventional, non-conventional and irregular wars will erupt on an unprecedented scale, due to a host of reasons, including population growth, poverty, declining natural resources, political instability and unresolved disputes between nations.

India has a rich tradition and experience in land warfare. The contribution of the Indian Army in World Wars I and II are well known. After Independence, the Nation had to fight four wars in quick succession, in which the Army played a leading role. In addition, Army operations on the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir and in Siachin have been ongoing and sustained over long periods. The war in Kargil, though localised, was as intense as a full scale war. In all these wars and conflicts, the participation of the Indian Army was not only commendable but predominant and total.

The land forces have also been fully involved in fighting insurgency since Independence. Whether it was the simmering insurgency of the East; the terrorism of Punjab; or high intensity counter-insurgency and proxy war of Jammu and Kashmir, the involvement of the Indian Army has again been total and prolonged.

The Indian Army has not only won appreciation from all quarters, but has also emerged as a professionally confident force, with combat experience unmatched by any other army.

Yet, the credo of the Army continue to demand perfection. The changing environment for waging war, the infusion of high technology, and the digitisation of the battle field also demand fresh thinking; new doctrine and concepts; and innovative methodologies for conflict management and conflict resolution. These are the areas of focus of the CLAWS for conducting research and study.

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