In an era where warfare is no longer limited to bullets and bombs, the world now contends with a new kind of menace: hybrid warfare. A potent blend of conventional tactics, cyber warfare, irregular forces, and disinformation campaigns, it has metamorphosed battles from physical grounds to digital platforms. First introduced by Frank Hoffman in 2007, a time marked by booming global connectivity, hybrid warfare has since found fertile ground in the intricate web of the internet and social media.
In the heart of South Asia, the long-standing Indo-Pak rivalry has unfortunately become a prime canvas for such strategies. The latest ground zero is the Indian state of Punjab, where a whirlwind of information warfare aims to sow seeds of discord.
The Defense and Foreign Relations Analysis Committee (DFRAC) recently unveiled a report spotlighting a particular Twitter account, @NationGazette, as a proxy for the Khalistan movement. Registered under Dr. Rajbir Bajwa, an esteemed Indian doctor, it poses a poignant question: How deep does this rabbit hole of deception go?
On delving deeper, the DFRAC found that the account, despite being created in 2013, began tweeting only in 2020. This mysterious digital dormancy raises suspicions. Was the account a dormant shell, waiting to spring into action? The credibility of the Nation Gazette lies in tatters.
On December 20, 2022 the Nation Gazette issued this tweet shortly after the tweet made by former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. In his tweet, Imran Khan directed his criticism towards India, alleging that the country intentionally fired upon the UNMOGIP vehicle.
They alleged that the Indian Army fired upon a UNMOGIP vehicle, an assertion quickly debunked by reputable sources like India Today and ANI.
Similarly, the Nation Gazette, in its insidious attempts to destabilize, misinformed about a tragic incident in Manipur, misidentifying a victim from the Naga tribe as belonging to the Christian Kuki Tribe. Fact-checks, however, swiftly exposed the falsehood.
Numerous tweets from the Nation Gazette’s account advocated for Khalistan. A particular emphasis was on Amritpal Singh, suspected of participating in extremist acts against the nation’s interests. The tweets portrayed Khalistan’s support from advocates in Canada and Australia.
Gurpat Singh Pannu, recognized as the Khalistan representative, drew attention with his proclamation via tweet, marking Shimla as Khalistan’s anticipated capital. The tweet further highlighted Khalistan’s aspirations to designate envoys globally and nurture positive ties with both neighboring and international nations.
But what is most disturbing is that a significant chunk of its followers seems to be from Pakistan, with many accounts masquerading under Sikh and Muslim identities. The plot thickens as the account shares content from a prominent Pakistani editor, suggesting a deeper network of influence and coordination.
However, the most egregious deception of all is the impersonation of Dr. Rajbir Singh Bajwa. While the account purports to be administered by him, the real Dr. Bajwa, a revered surgeon from Amritsar, denies any association with Twitter. This blatant identity theft underscores the lengths to which these propagators of hybrid warfare will go.
The Nation Gazette is not a mere Twitter account. It’s a symbol of how warfare has evolved in the 21st century. A cunning puppet in a larger game, it highlights the importance of vigilance in this digital age. As readers and global citizens, our responsibility is to remain discerning, always questioning the narratives presented to us, and safeguarding the truth against the shadows of disinformation.
In the intricate mosaic of geopolitics, the machinations of the Nation Gazette are not isolated incidents, but cogent pieces in a larger strategic puzzle architected by Pakistan. By using such tools of deception, the endgame becomes increasingly clear: to systematically undermine India’s unity and fracture its integrity. The ulterior motive? To engender pockets of instability within India, thereby diluting its stature on the global stage. As we stand at the crossroads of truth and manipulation, it becomes imperative for us, as vigilant citizens, to discern the shadows from the substance and thwart such divisive agendas that threaten our national fabric.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Khalsa Vox or its members.