Hybrid warfare came to prominence in the 21st century, this new form of warfare avoiding a clear differentiation between war and peace, soldiers and civilians is practiced by all sides of the different divides. According to Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz “every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions”. Russian General Gerasimov holds that “in the 21st century we have seen a tendency towards blurring the lines between the states of war and peace. Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template”The US definition characterizes hybrid warfare as “synchronized use of multiple instruments of power tailored to specific vulnerabilities across the full spectrum of societal functions to achieve synergistic effects.” Russian scholar Korybko, on the other hand, says hybrid wars can be defined as “externally provoked identity conflicts, which exploit historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and geographic differences within geostrategic transit states through the phased transition from colour revolutions to unconventional wars in order to disrupt, control, or influence multipolar transnational connective infrastructure projects by means of regime tweaking, regime change, or regime reboot.” While clear differences may be visible between the two definitions, in common they envisage a military strategy that employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyber warfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news, diplomacy and foreign electoral intervention. By combining kinetic operations with subversive efforts, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution. Hybrid warfare can be used to describe the flexible and complex dynamics of the battle space requiring highly adaptable and resilient responses.Hybrid warfare employs means other than conventional military troops, tactics and strategies, to include the employment of irregular military and paramilitary forces like guerrillas, paramilitaries, such as the Islamic State, Hamas and Hizbollah use. Whereas non-violent means by civilian institutions include; psychological assaults using ethnic, religious or national vulnerabilities. Moreover provocateurs operating behind enemy lines, economic assaults through sanctions, boycotts and punitive tariffs so as to weaken the enemy’s economy. Cyber assaults at elections and referendums, use of big data for manipulation of referendums like Brexit and the US elections and a vast selection of propaganda warfare via electronic and social media, TV channels and publications. Diplomacy is as much involved in this new type of warfare as fake news. The relative novelty of hybrid warfare today lies in the ability of an actor to synchronize multiple instruments of power simultaneously and intentionally exploit creativity, ambiguity, non-linearity and the cognitive elements of warfare. Conducted by both state and non-state actors hybrid warfare is typically tailored to remain undetected. Often it relies on the speed, volume and ubiquity of digital technology that characterises the present information age. Already prevalent and widespread in the world and in Pakistan, hybrid warfare is likely to grow as a challenge. For us it is important to understand its character, its underlying ideology and forms in order to be able to devise appropriate answers to it.The relative novelty of hybrid warfare today lies in the ability of an actor to synchronize multiple instruments of power simultaneously and intentionally exploit creativity, ambiguity, non-linearity and the cognitive elements of warfare. Conducted by both state and non-state actors, hybrid warfare is typically tailored to remain undetectedThere is no uniform understanding of the term and its implications. The US Department of Defence (DD), NATO and EU see hybrid warfare mainly as a means to undermine democratic states and democracy as such. Col. Frank Hoffman’s approach is to see it as a combination of regular and irregular warfare that includes the use of terrorist acts and extreme violence. The United States Joint Forces Command defined a hybrid threat as, “any adversary that simultaneously and adaptively employs a tailored mix of conventional, irregular, terrorism and criminal means or activities in the operational battle space. Rather than a single entity, a hybrid threat or challenger may be a combination of state and non-state actors”. An opposite understanding of this new type of warfare is held by the Russian military. They understand it as a western ploy against the new Russia-China axis and use hybrid warfare to prevent the implementation of the Eurasian concept and Russia‘s return as a global power. Prominent example is the article of Russian general Valeri Vasilyevitch Gerasimov, the current Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, and first Deputy Defence Minister appointed by President Vladimir Putin in 2012. In February 2013, he published a widely noticed article titled “The value of science is in the foresight: new challenges demand rethinking the forms and methods of carrying out combat operations”.The article was published approximately a year before the Maidan revolt in Ukraine. This set in motion a chain of events ending with the Russian occupation of Crimea and the civil war in Eastern Ukraine. The views expressed in the article were understood in the west as an expression of Russian understanding of hybrid warfare. Mark Galeotti, at the Institute of international relations translated the article into English and posted it in his blog. To make it catchier he called it the “Gerasimov doctrine” though even then he admitted that it was not a doctrine. The term “Gerasimov doctrine” was picked up and started a ‘destructive life’ of its own. Today Galeotti is sorry to have created the term admitting “it doesn’t exist”, the longer we pretend it does, the longer we misunderstand the — real, but different — challenge Russia poses. From the Russian point of view ‘indirect and asymmetric methods’ are from the tool box of the West. For the Russians, hybrid warfare is a western attack on Russia to encroach on what they consider their comfort zone or their territory of influence. When Yugoslavia was divided, by an unannounced and unsanctioned UN war on Serbia in the 1990s; foreign interference in Transnistria in the 1990s, in Georgia in 2008, and in the Ferghana valley in 2010, he writes: “The Russian military has been adamant that they do not practice a hybrid-war strategy.A political analyst and a regular contributor to several online journals, Andrew Korybko is a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia. His recent (2015) book “Hybrid wars: The indirect adaptive approach to regime change” is available online. Written three years after General Gerasimov’s article one can detect the change that has taken place: While Gerasimov was not even using the term hybrid warfare; Korybko has written a book about it. Korybko treats hybrid warfare not only as an attack against Russia but against the Eurasian concept and the initiatives to implement it, ie OBOR and China. He mentions the name of Mackinder, the British geographer who predicted the Eurasian concept to be the ‘pivot of history’. As a motto he uses the Chinese Sun Tzu “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” From that can be easily deducted that Russian understanding of hybrid warfare is based on Russia’s experience with western encroachments on what they consider their comfort zone.The writer is a defence and security analystPublished in Daily Times, October 5th 2018.