Book: Assassin's Mace - A Chinese Game Changer
Author: Saif Ul Islam Khan
By Monish Gulati
Practice of asymmetry in war, use of strategies, guile, deception and sly methods to secure upper hand over the adversary are inherent in the Chinese strategic thoughts and find mention in Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and in the “36 Stratagems”. To the rest of the world, inclusion of asymmetry in warfare may be yet another technique of operations, for the Chinese it is but a natural process and is built in all its format of war fighting. Brig Saif Ul Islam Khan in his book, ‘Assassin’s Mace, a Chinese Game Changer’ has in a intriguing manner analysed the facet of China’s ancient strategy that advocates use of ‘surprise weapons’ by an inferior (person or force) to defeat a superior adversary. The Author has in a remarkably lucid manner unfolded the Chinese strategy to embed Assassin’s Mace program and the wisdom of yesteryears strategists into the transformation strategy of People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
China in its military strategy has chosen to integrate asymmetric warfare capabilities as its deterrence and contingency strategy. The author has brought out that Chinese military strategists have evolved systematic time lines to develop China’s military might and have a time phased approach for development and execution of asymmetries in conduct of warfare. In fact, the discussions in the book bring to fore that the asymmetrical development was been given priority over the military modernisation program.
The book dwells on role that Assassin’s Mace weaponry plays in implementation of war fighting strategies and analyses the integration of Assassin’s Mace weapons in China’s concept of operations. A detailed discourse on Assassin’s Mace as it transcends Land, Sea, Air and Space domains is deliberated upon in the book and its implications on future conflicts including those in context of India have also been discussed.
This book, which focuses on the evolution of Assassin’s Mace program and its likely future trajectory, is intended as a resource for strategic analysts, researchers and students seeking to understand the nuances relating to Assassin’s Mace and the trends of high technology warfare in future conflicts. The book addresses the concept of employment of Assassin’s Mace Weapons as a deterrence tool for conflicts and as a magic wand for achieving victory in war. The author has brought out that Assassin’s Mace weapons transcend the realms of strategic deception, surprise, military guile and technological wonder. Intelligent warfare strategies make them powerful combat disruption tools. He has explained the broad concept of operations of Assassin’s Mace time phased strikes and there-after presented detailed analyses of the strategy which China is likely to follow. The author has deliberated in a thought provoking manner the possibility of integration of Assassin’s Mace weapons in ‘Key point strikes’ and ‘active defence’ strategies that China propagates. China’s White Paper on National Defence 2015, dealing with China’s Military Strategy, issued in May 15, indicates that the Author has been able to correctly assess the military strategy trajectory being considered by China.
The process of developing of Assassin’s Mace weapons or ‘Shashoujian’ will be long and difficult journey for PLA as per author assessment and hence Assassins Mace program needs to evolved systematically by all the Services and would be an all-army, all-location, composite land, sea, and air system and would need to be a Chinese program since it cannot be purchased from abroad. The Author has accordingly classified Shashoujian Weapons as Land Based Shashoujian, Air Based Shashoujian, Oceanic Strike Shashoujian and Space Based Shashoujian . Authors assessment inticates that Chinese strategy for operations using Shashoujian can be divided into three distinct time phased stages- Strategies prior to declaration of hostilities, Pre-emptive strikes and the actual conduct of war. Counter Intervention Operations, use of Tactical nuclear weapons, stealth and counter stealth equipment, hyper velocity vehicles, cyber warfare, nanotechnology, Bionic power and Bioengineering would be part of this Chinese Game Plan.
China sees itself as a Great Power in Asia, and India as a major competitor. The Author has traced out the military equations between the two Asian giants and bringing out implications for each.