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Wars are born in human mind. Great military leaders belonging to all times and cultures have always tried to influence the minds of their foes and friends alike to facilitate their own victories by making their enemies hesitant. The minds concerned could be influenced with a variety of overt and covert actions that send right signals to the target audiences. In the words of Allied Supreme Commander of the World War II, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, these actions are: anything from the singing of a beautiful anthem to the most extraordinary kind of physical sabotage. This is psychological warfare and the most preferred action is communication. Dr. Arunkumar Bhatt, who being a defense journalist knows nuances of communication and unfolds here this soft-kill strategy and its tactics. He traces the history of the psychological warfare to establish how steadily its importance has grown. It became a war winning factor in the Great War and its role further expanded in the World War II. The psywar as it has come to be known among many names has not looked back since then.
The psychological warfare has now found a place among 'war by other means.' It is recognized as a command function and is factored in planning at all levels. It is so important that the decision to deploy the psy-weapons is taken at the top echelon of the high command and this is done much ahead of the breaking out of hostilities.
Where does India that has a poor strategic culture and still poorer awareness about its security, stand vis-a'-vis psywar? Indian culture has instances of the psywar. It was being practiced in the ancient period. Kautilya recommends it strongly. Different invaders used it. The British practiced it in an institutionalized fashion to rule India. India did counter the British psywar but in a rather 'irregular' way. India used it successfully in some of the post-independence wars but the country needs to do much more to protect itself against psywar attacks and to use it effectively to enhance its own security in the present day multi-threat scenario. This is an attempt to table a calling attention motion before the nation.
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