Early military lessons for India from the Russian invasion

The Russo-Ukrainian warfare is getting into a decisive and important segment. The preferred view which is rising is that Putin and the Russian Military would possibly win the combat however lose the warfare

Previous Russian military forays into Georgia (2008) and Crimea (2014), as additionally its sustained reinforce of separatists in the Donbas area, have been immensely a hit. Russia again and again used overwhelming and unrestricted pressure to triumph over restricted or no opposition in double-quick time. From the Russian point of view, the stipulations in Ukraine at the moment have been identical as in the previous. Russia dwarfed Ukraine militarily. NATO used to be on the sidelines and in no place to intrude. Eu dependence on Russian power would make international locations hesitate to do the rest important. Ukrainians seemed bumbling.

Time used to be ripe. The politico-military plan used to be subsequently easy. Hit Ukraine exhausting and speedy. Topple its executive. Determine a puppet regime in Kyiv. Trip out the global rage and anger. Get ready for and climate out Western sanctions. Amplify Russian affect to the West. Resurrect Russian superpower standing. Sadly, previous efficiency does no longer essentially expect long term effects. Issues have panned out a long way otherwise since the Ukrainian folks willed in a different way.

The Russian offensive is getting into an surprising/unplanned 2nd cycle. This time it sort of feels as though the focal point is Kyiv. The primary military lesson of this warfare is that don’t battle long term wars on the premises of the ultimate warfare. Having mentioned this, allow us to analyse the first cycle (until 28 February) and draw military lessons out of it.

A view of the central sq. following shelling of the Town Corridor construction in Kharkiv, Ukraine. AP

Smartly, ahead of the exact kinetic combat, data, intelligence and cyberwars had begun in the gray zone. Deception and mental ops have been on, complete blast. All events have been getting ready and making plans for war. The primary cycle of this war has been ruled by way of battlefield transparency, firepower, motion and folks’s resistance.

To recount the collection of occasions, the kinetic combat commenced on 24 February at break of day with heavy firepower delivered via long-range weapons, rockets, missiles and airstrikes synergistically. Those fires focused towns, airports and military infrastructure throughout Ukraine. Russia claimed disablement of Ukraine’s air defences and air bases by way of destroying many military objectives, together with airfields and air belongings. Alternatively, what did occur used to be that Russia didn’t perform apply up air operations to knock out Ukrainian airpower or anti-aircraft belongings. Until date, Ukraine air belongings had been ready to function with some impact.

Later, on 24 February, Russian forces commenced a multipronged advance into Ukraine by way of land, sea and air accompanied by way of fireplace moves. Their thrusts have been against Odessa, Kherson, Donbas house, Kharkiv and Kyiv as proven in the map beneath. They successfully bring to a halt Ukraine from the sea, East and North. Alternatively, the whole affair does no longer appear to be a clean blended fingers operations since Ukrainians have been ready to intervene with the advance to gradual it down and throw it off tools.

Through the night of 28 February, Russian forces had complex on 3 thrust traces and had established 3 distinct enclaves round Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson. Ukrainians, in spite of being outnumbered, have been contesting the Russian advance alongside all thrust traces. Commonplace electorate have joined in the battle with Molotov Cocktails and AKs. Flooring combating and airstrikes have been proceeding intermittently. Specifics aren’t referred to as but and can emerge later. On 28 February there used to be a slight pause when talks between Russia and Ukraine happened in Gomel (Belarus). The location now means that Russia is reinforcing its thrust traces and is all set to recommence its offensive. Time to attract lessons from what has took place up to now.

Allow us to get started with data and intelligence operations. The USA and the West created good enough battlefield transparency via their data operations. This enabled readability on Russian build-up and intent. It additionally gave good enough intelligence to the Ukrainians relating to Russian inclinations. On the different hand, Russians fastened an similarly robust operation to procure battlefield intelligence and form the battlefield. Additionally they used incorrect information at strategic and tactical ranges to hide actual deployments and exact motion.

Russia used to be ready to mount a unexpected assault in spite of being underneath consistent US watch to succeed in a prime level of operational marvel. The lesson is that long term wars shall be data and intelligence extensive. Transfer to our state of affairs. The Chinese language lay a large number of emphasis on ‘informatised’ battlefields. They’re now taking a look at ‘intelligentised’ battlefields. On the different hand, our revel in in Kargil and japanese Ladakh signifies intelligence screw ups of a monumentally prime order. It is a serious warning call for the top minister, the defence minister, NSA, and the yet-to-be-appointed CDS. India has a large number of floor to hide. Frankly, I don’t see matching urgency or thrust to make our data and intelligence equipment potent. I am hoping somebody apprises our top minister that we can’t be “aatmanirbhar” (self-reliant) with out intelligence. Until we get our act in combination now, we would possibly no longer have the ability to catch up.

A lot is fabricated from the cyber area. All sides have performed cyber-attacks on every different’s networks (civilian and military) both at once or via proxies/ allies/ supporters. Alternatively, simply assume. None of the cyber-attacks has made a decisive affect on the battlefield. Some battlefield changes appear to have been made for the cyber impact. It sort of feels marginal in the total context of violence or results. There’s a view that ‘cyber weapons are mostly deployed “short of war” tools, in the grey zone between peace and war. They are cheap, effective and often difficult to trace back to the state behind them in comparison to boots on the ground, making retaliation complicated’. It makes a large number of sense.

Putins Ukraine war Early military lessons for India from the Russian invasion

The cyber spectrum in a warfare is necessary. Symbol courtesy News18

General, I feel the militia wish to realistically use the cyber area in combat. China lays a large number of emphasis on informatisation and cyberwarfare. It’s increasingly more community dependent. It is a vulnerability ready to be exploited. Disrupt Chinese language data ops and they’re performed. As and when the CDS will get appointed, he wishes to noticeably take into consideration this in conjunction with the Provider Chiefs. Conversely, personal networks want cyber proofing. For my part, the technique to cross ahead is to be gentle on battlefield networking and information transfers. Higher to be robust on conversation, use tactical acumen moderately than on innate useless information. The easier it’s the higher.

In all instances, military networks will have to be standalone and layered sufficient to be tough to tamper with. The problem is that whilst we will have a layered structure to resist a cyber-attack, what can we do with the Chinese language {hardware} which floods our nationwide networks? Mega drawback to hand. Will somebody critically recall to mind cyber ‘aatmanirbharta’? At nationwide ranges, the factor turns into extra difficult and for sure wishes consideration. In the end, if we have now banned Chinese language apps, we will to find tactics to prohibit their {hardware} too.

This combat has proven the expanding price of precision long-range firepower hired in an built-in method. It belies the Indian concept propounded myopically that airpower and long-range artillery are ‘supporting actors’ in a three-act battlefield play ruled by way of the infantry by myself. Time to get up out of our shut eye. Lengthy-range firepower delivered by way of rockets, cruise missiles, aeroplanes and drones in the preliminary levels spread out area for manoeuvre and created stipulations for additional operations. They formed the battlefield for Russia. Alternatively, for causes which can emerge later, Russia may just no longer combine its ground-based firepower with airpower to knock out Ukraine forces. The easy reason why used to be that the Russian Air Drive didn’t perform good enough offensive sorties for causes past comprehension. In the tournament gaps in firepower making plans and supply gave a window of alternative to Ukrainian forces to retaliate.

The maxim that firepower will have to be delivered seamlessly throughout the period and intensity of the battlefield in an built-in method is crucial lesson for the long term in our context. Additional, Ukraine hired long-range firepower in an ambush function innovatively. It sounds as if from studies that Ukrainian forces have saved the few Smerch launchers they have got in hides. From those hides they have got been ready to redeploy and produce down devastating fireplace upon advancing Russian columns as and once they entered ready killing fields, which have been saved underneath shut commentary. Statement it sort of feels used to be by way of CCTVs and drones. Leading edge certainly. India wishes to review this higher.

Putins Ukraine war Early military lessons for India from the Russian invasion

The Tibetan terrain

All sides have proven readability in making sure tight sensor-shooter linkages. In our context, adopting built-in firepower supply can pay good-looking dividends in the flat Tibetan plateau the place motion is predictable in time-space and locational dimensions and camouflage is sort of non-existent. Coordinated long-range firepower from floor or air, manned or unmanned, with appropriate battlefield transparency and shut commentary (manned or unmanned) will paralyse the Chinese language. On the different hand, the Chinese language firepower is probably not that efficient since on our aspect of the LAC the terrain is rather extra damaged and steep. Alternatively, it will have to be famous that Chinese language operational ideas lay a big emphasis on precision firepower. Our deployments will have to cater for this. The Chinese language would even be finding out this combat carefully to attract their lessons.


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The multi-pronged offensive performed by way of the Russians seems nice on paper. Alternatively, every prong is broadly separated from the different with out mutual reinforce. All result in unbiased targets. Whilst it might be argued that 3 such prongs will inherently give a point of luck with no less than one in every of them succeeding, the query is: Will they have the ability to reach the better purpose of Russia — regime alternate? As well as, the resistance submit by way of the Ukrainians signifies that the Russians wish to do hall coverage on all the axes, to give protection to the frame and tail of the axes. Resultantly, the efficient struggle doable at the tip of the arrow seems susceptible. This is borne out by way of the indisputable fact that the Russians needed to take a tactical pause ahead of resuming their offensive. This time round, they’re transparent that they would like Kyiv and are heading there in energy. As a fall again they may settle for Kharkiv, which is being hammered by way of very heavy fireplace attacks. Alternatively, coming into a built-up house the measurement of Kyiv is daunting.

I additionally suspect that the Russians could be close to their end result level so far as troops are involved. They began with 150,000 troops which might translate into an similar of a few Corps with four-five divisions and logistics reinforce components as we comprehend it. Assuming that they have got needed to make use of a department every alongside every thrust line, they’re now probably left with about two divisions which they appear to be hanging into Kyiv and Karkhiv. Will or not it’s sufficient?

The opposite indication is that once an aspect begins waving a nuclear card ahead of attaining the rest important, there’s a hollow for your plans. Russia is now additionally taking a look at Belarus to supply further troops. Tight scenario certainly. The following 24-48 hours shall be crucial. If Kyiv does no longer fall in that point, the Russians will spend a very long time there. They could sooner or later overpower Ukraine forces. If and once they do, they’re going to realise that it’s a lot more uncomplicated to triumph over a rustic than to carry it. It’s unsure that the Ukrainian folks would settle for a puppet regime.

The Russian gamble may just degenerate into an extended and sapping insurgency totally aided and abetted by way of the EU. The main lesson from this segment is that variety and upkeep of purpose and focus of pressure are necessary ideas of warfare and tough to forget about. General, the Russian plan didn’t both reinforce their political purpose nor used to be it concentrated to succeed in it. The plan used to be designed to succeed in a couple of goals according to ‘past performance’!

The Russo-Ukrainian warfare is getting into a decisive and important segment. The preferred view which is rising is that Putin and the Russian Military would possibly win the combat however lose the warfare. It used to be Clausewitz who had mentioned that warfare is an insignificant continuation of politics by way of different method. When this warfare will get over, it’s to be noticed as to who will retain his process as a political candidate — Putin or Zelensky? The transformation of 1 from widespread to remoted and the different from remoted to widespread is as stark as chalk to cheese. The outcome appears to be a forgone conclusion. Alternatively, allow us to wait for time to roll and disclose the long term. There could be extra surprises to be informed from.

The writer used to be India’s DG Artillery. He’s extremely embellished and certified with huge operational revel in. He contributed considerably to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He’s now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is concerned with carried out analysis for defence era. The perspectives expressed are private.

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