chapter  24
Fighting Fourth Generation wars: The Indian experience
ByRAJESH RAJAGOPALAN
Pages 13

Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) theorists argue that future wars are likely to pit traditional state forces against non-state guerrillas who are politically astute and skilled in communications technology. The central plea of such theorists to modern conventional militaries is to remember that political objectives are the key to winning modern unconventional wars, or what they term 4GW. Thus, thinking of the use of force in ways that simply increase military technical efficiency will leave them unprepared for fighting wars in which the primary dynamic is not military efficiency but rather understanding the intricacies of political violence and communication. Suicide bombing maybe a crude instrument but its effects are to be measured not so much by the sophistication of the tactic but the political effect it produces. Though all wars (hopefully) are politically driven, conventional second and third generation armies tend to think of wars largely as an inter-state phenomenon and the political objectives they serve are in the context of traditional inter-state politics: deterrence, defense, coercion, military victory and such. 4GW requires that these militaries change: it is, as James Wirtz put it nicely, politics with guns.1