The character of warfare was changing and future wars will be more violent and unpredictable, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat said on Saturday. The surgical strikes of 2016 and 2019 showed the political resolve of the country in dealing with terror, he stated.“We are working in a coordinated manner for a cogent and synchronised national response against sub-conventional and asymmetric threats by any adversary. Surgical strikes post Uri and Balakot have amply demonstrated our political and military resolve against terror. Any act of terror will not go unpunished,” Gen. Rawat said.He was speaking at a commemorative event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Kargil conflict and the lessons learnt, organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).A book Surprise, Strategy and Vijay: 20 years of Kargil and beyond was released at the seminar, containing writings by various officers who fought in the Kargil conflict and edited by Lt. Gen. (retd.) V.K. Ahluwalia, Director, CLAWS.In the summer of 1999, India was caught off guard as Pakistan’s regular soldiers, dressed as irregulars, occupied the icy heights in Kargil and adjoining areas. After initial losses, India eventually recaptured the peaks but as a strategy refused to cross the Line of Control or open new fronts.Future conflictsTalking of the changing nature of warfare, Gen. Rawat observed that future conflicts would be more violent and unpredictable. The importance of human favour shall remain undiminished, he said, and “soldiers are, and will remain, our primary assets.”“Unconventional and symmetric wars are gaining pre-eminence. In the future, even conventional conflicts are likely to have a large asymmetric component, what is now being called hybrid ears,” he observed.Talking of the continued import of defence equipment, Gen. Rawat said “we can’t afford to be import-dependent throughout” and “achieving self-reliance in critical weapon technologies involves revitalisation of the defence public sector units, private sector participation and impetus to research and development.”In this direction, he announced that the first ordnance factory that was being established jointly with Russia to manufacture the AK-203 was being headed by a serving two-star Major General as the Chief Executive Officer.During Kargil, the Army relied on heavy troop numbers to offset the enemy’s advantage of height, which had cost hundreds of lives. With barren rocky terrain, the mountains offered no camouflage or concealment. Heavy artillery in the form of 155 mm Bofors guns and aerial bombardment by the Indian Air Force with Laser Guided Bombs turned the tide later in India’s favour.Talking of the conflict, the then Army chief, Gen. (retd.) V.P. Malik, highlighted the lack of surveillance, intelligence failure, lack of equipment and sanctions among the major failures and challenges.

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