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Chaos Doctrine: India’s Brahmastra Against China; By Cdr Sandeep Dhawan

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

Article Courtesy:

Article 41/2020

In ancient Indian history, the Brahmastra is a supernatural weapon used in the war of Mahabharata. When discharged, it creates a fierce fireball, which destroys all trees, oceans, and animals. The sky surrounds with flame, glaciers melt and mountains shatter. Not a single blade of grass ever grows in that area, no rainfall for 12 divine years (4320 years), and climate condition worsen. The strike of Brahmastra eventually destroys everything.


Mao Zedong, the first Chairman of the People’s Republic of China took great pride in guerilla tactics. He wrote “The guerilla must move among people as a fish swims in the sea. When a nation is inferior in arms and military equipment, then it may employ guerilla tactics against a more powerful transgressor”.

Mao was not a great tactician but he had good generals under him. Those generals drew heavily from their one time masters, Mongols. Mongol armies were the dominant force in Eurasia in the 13th century. Their strategy was described by absolute discipline, a well-defined chain of command, superior communications strategy, exceptional mobility, and a tactical doctrine unifying all the components.

If we read Mao’s statement carefully, it states, ‘when a nation is inferior it should apply guerrilla tactics’. So either it is an incomplete strategy or misplaced thinking. Keeping Mao’s strategy in mind, modern China has devised a faulty war doctrine, based on Sun Tzu’s ideology. Sun Tzu’s teachings work in the domestic environment but produce hardly any international results.


As per the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘Chaos is a state of complete disorder and confusion’. I propose a ‘Chaos Doctrine’ to be used against China. Why disorder and confusion? How does that benefit India? Let us analyze.

This is an outline to help the military planner of India to draw their own conclusions. A doctrine is a very vast topic, and many volumes may not suffice to give the full picture.

As it is very much evident from the introduction that modern China shifted from the original strategy to the present ‘President-for-life’, ‘Xi Jinping’s Thoughts’. China even ditched Deng Xiaoping’s ‘tao guang yang hui’ approach, meaning “keep a low profile and bide your time”, to an overtly aggressive approach. Petulant China abhors uncertainty and unpredictability, and that’s what the ‘Chaos Doctrine’ is all about.

The Chaos Doctrine would be haphazard in nature for any outsider but will have a pattern known only to the executioner. The main components of the ‘Chaos Doctrine’ would be:

  1. Discredited Leadership

  2. Inward Looking Society

  3. Questionable Military

  4. Collapsed Education System

  5. Uncertainty in Commerce and Finance

  6. Recruitment Overdrive

  7. Propaganda Blitzkrieg

‘Chaos Doctrine‘ should propagate and blur the difference between a soldier and a civilian. Either an individual would be a soldier or would be working towards the common national goal in his/her capacity.

As per Italian Renaissance era diplomat & philosopher, Machiavelli ‘The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people, for although you may have fortresses, they will not save you if you are hated by the people’.

A leader can be discredited in many ways, false/real propaganda about his character; corruption; fake credentials, or digging our dirt from his/her past. Every Chinese leader has parked billions of dollars in western countries, and many have their wards either studying in international universities or living in western countries. This aspect should be given huge coverage and paint those leaders and their families unpatriotic or traitors.

However, the best and most effective method would be to force the leader to use the power bestowed upon him against his own people. That would leave a permanent mark on the memories of the citizens. Chinese people may choose to ignore discussing the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, but it is etched in their memories permanently. German sociologist Robert Michel’s “iron law of oligarchy” theory should be reminded to the Chinese citizens, time and again.


The Ming Dynasty was in power in China from 1368 to 1644. The Emperor was an autocratic ruler who had controlled all aspects of life in his Empire, with an iron fist. At that time, Chinese technology was superior to the rest of the world. During the decline of the Ming Dynasty, the Chinese withdrew from sea travel and overseas trade. They became more inward-looking. The hubris had blinded the Chinese mind, and innovation had come to a standstill. Forlorn gloom had descended over China and it did not recover from that for the next 300 years.

The present-day Chinese dispensation has a lot of similarities to the Ming Dynasty, it is autocratic, and controls the populace with the iron fist. The signs of vainglory have started emerging, which was the beginning of the end of the glorious Ming Dynasty. China is being shunned by various nations, in the backdrop of COVID19 and its aggressive posturing. Little more attention and push would make China, a completely inward-looking and a deliquescent nation.


PLA Veterans Protest: Courtesy NY Times

There is a strong simmering resentment running amongst 57 million veterans of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). This discontent should be exploited by India. The propaganda machine should burn the midnight oil to discredit CCP in the eyes of these veterans. The veterans have been holding frequent mass protests across China for years now, hoping to shame the government.

These veterans seek better health care, pensions, medical care, and jobs, as a mark of due acknowledgement for their service to the country. China doesn’t have a central agency to distribute pensions and other benefits to its veterans. The veterans find themselves forsaken by the CCP to the pity of corrupt local officials, who make them feel like an old bull waiting to be slaughtered.

Once the seed of discontent has been spread nicely amongst the veterans, it would be a matter of time that this seeps into the ranks of the active army. It should be strongly highlighted that the workforce of today’s army would be veterans one day. On the other hand, a parallel campaign should be initiated amongst the citizens of the country, projecting the veterans, and PLA corrupt and constantly demanding more for themselves. A discredited force is a demoralized force, unfit to fight, how much ever high tech equipment they may possess.

India should take advantage of these disgruntled veterans and float various shell companies to hire veterans who have a good know-how of various Chinese projects. This would be the cheapest way of getting Chinese secrets out and devastating them.


Courtesy: Foreign Policy

Education is a primary propelling force of advancement in any modern society. The ability of a nation to sustain this process is key to its development, economic prosperity, and the wellbeing of its citizens. Once China has been made to be an inward-looking society, the exchange of ideas and the flow of information would stop from other nations. The Chinese students and scientists should be barred/discouraged from visiting other country’s universities and research labs. The information on them being spies should be given wide publicity. These moves would seriously affect their morale and restrict their movements. In turn, this would severely affect higher education, new technological ideas, and development within China.


Courtesy: Bloomberg

The Chinese commerce and financial market can be substantially damaged using cyber-attacks, however, along with that, a new front should be opened in another extremely important domain- Indian Ocean Region(IOR). 80% of Chinese exports and energy requirements are met through this region. India should create a fleet of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs), Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), and Fishing Boats.

These boats and vehicles should pose a serious threat to the Chinese warships and merchant ships. Swarms of fishing boats and unmanned vehicles should be used to ram into every Chinese ship operating in the IOR, causing serious damage. The Chinese should be made to feel insecure and vulnerable in the IOR. Indian Navy would not be attributable to these accidents if they are civilian boats, legitimately operating in IOR. It would force the Chinese to take an alternate route, increasing the cost of operations.


Every year 170 million Chinese travel out of China as businessmen or tourists, 700,000 Chinese students study in various foreign universities, and over a million Chinese citizens live in the African continent for business purposes. No opportunity should be missed in the indoctrination of these Chinese citizens. Money, threat, and every other means possible should be employed to recruit these Chinese citizens to work for India. Even if the success rate is as dismal as 0.001% the number is whopping 17000.


All the above-said strategies would highly depend upon one aspect- ‘Propaganda Warfare’. India should leave no stone unturned and use every means available at its disposal to spread the information/disinformation against China. India should establish radio and TV stations in countries surrounding China to disseminate information into China. India should fund the biggest names in the print and digital media around the globe to write against China and its misdeeds. Some of the most important techniques of spreading propaganda are:

  1. Ping pong- Coordinated use of websites to push a story into mainstream circulation.

  2. Wolf cries wolf- Smearing an individual or institution for activities done by oneself also.

  3. Misleading title- Misleading title, but correct facts or statements in the article.

  4. Card stacking- Partial truth and selective information.

  5. False facts- Interviews, events or incidents which actually never occur.

  6. False visuals- Fake and manipulative visuals to lend credibility to a false narrative.

  7. Totum pro parts- Make look an individual’s views as official views of the whole organization.

  8. Ridiculing, discrediting, diminution- Expressions to support false narrative or hide the truth.

  9. Conspiracy theories- Use of rumours or claims of conspiracy to distract the audience.

  10. Drowning facts with emotion- Present a story in an emotional way that facts lose importance.


The best tool in India’s hand is not fighting a conventional war, but famine, disease, and the bankruptcy of China and the break-down of the whole social organization in that country. The Indian Republic and Indian citizens, despite capability, are not in the favour of Chemical and Biological warfare, else that would have been a great tool while dealing with China. A country that has no qualms about using these elements against its opponents.

If this menace is not stopped now the world is heading for World War III. There is no ‘modus vivendi’ possible with this nation. India not only has to take action against this evil force but make all other like-minded nations aware of the evil designs of this Minotaur and the menagerie of nations it is gathering, to create an incongruous world of its own.

Big Bang of Chinese economic and military might is over, the Big Crunch has just been initiated. Distrust and disinformation would be the hallmark of the new China. The Chaos Doctrine has just been unleashed.

(Cdr Sandeep Dhawan was a Maritime Reconnaissance Pilot and a Qualified Flying Instructor. He served in the Indian Navy between 1988 – 2009 ( PMR) with vast experience with Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard. He has been a civilian pilot since 2009 flying for commercial airlines with King Fisher, Spice Jet, Jet Airways and Indigo. The views expressed are personal and does not reflect the views of C3S.) 

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