Involvement of game theory in declaring surgical strikes

Involvement of game theory in declaring surgical strikes


In news: It’s been a month since surgical strikes happened across LOC on terrorist launch pads. This has resulted in continuous firing from the other side of LOC and rising militant attacks which has claimed more lives of Indian soldiers. This brings forward the question if what could have been in government’s mind to declare such strategic operation.

India’s leadership might have been in dilemma of — to speak or not to speak — with regard to the recent surgical strikes.
Hence a question arises if Game Theory — the study of decision-making in interdependent situations, i.e. situations in which the outcomes and the pay-offs of a “player” (a person, firm, or country involved in the situation) depend not just on what the player does but also on what others do — offer any answers?
In this mathematical model, it defines a game as consisting of a set of players, each with a set of strategies, and a pay-off (success) table specifying the pay-offs. It means that it will determine the gains and losses to each player from the adoption of any combination of strategies, one for each player.

The game theorists base their analyses on two assumptions
Rational players– they aim to maximize their pay-offs.
Common knowledge– the elements of the game (players, strategies, pay-offs) are “common knowledge”, i.e. known to everyone, known to be known, known to be known to be known…ad infinitum.

Game theory in declaring surgical strikes
News reports confirm that India’s recent surgical strikes in response to militant attacks in Uri may not have been the first ones.
The new aspect of this situation is that India has made its retaliation common knowledge by declaring there has been a strike.
This changes the interaction between the “players”—the Indian and Pakistan governments and civil society and the global leadership.

The announcement now makes it clear to India and the world at large that the Pakistan government knows there has been a surgical strike.
This will make Pakistan incumbent to respond which they have done by denying of such strikes taking place.
Next, they have stepped up their militant attacks and cross-border firing which indicates that the response has begun and will continue.

Pakistan has to act
The declaration and the consequent disapproval of terrorism by world leaders is also a possible tool in the hands of the political elite of Pakistan in their ongoing power struggle with the military and militants.
This is happening at an opportune time when the present army chief’s tenure is coming to an end.
The reported differences between Shahbaz Sharif (Pakistan politician) and the ISI head indicate that the politicians have initiated their moves.

No more patience
It signals to the Pakistan public and civil society that India’s patience is running out and it no longer feels the need for “deniability” of its counter-terror operations.
This is likely to strike a chord as the people of Pakistan are themselves victims of terrorism.
The triggering of a mood against terrorism in Pakistan depends on its people having the impression that India has been a tolerant onlooker to past attacks and has acted only when the provocation snowballed to unbearable proportions.

Impact on Indians
The announcement were supposed to have impact on the Indians who are about to vote in critical state elections.
Certain results which was not expected (and not appreciable)
The claim by the government that the Indian Army has recognized its strength for the first time through these strikes is unfortunate.
An army operation is being tried to give extreme political colours which is not acceptable neither a good example.
Also, the revelations by the opposition that India has engaged in such strikes in the past damages India’s ability to claim the high ground.
Similarly, the Prime Minister’s sympathy for the cause of Baloch separatists, may make India’s alleged involvement common knowledge but it does so to the detriment of India’s cause in Kashmir.

Amongst various reactions within India, the announcement prompted countries around the world to come out in the open about their stands on cross-border militancy in Kashmir.
The support of countries such as the US and Russia, though muted, is welcome.
China’s stonewalling is expected, for instance on the declaration of Masood Azhar as a terrorist, given the US’ emerging tilt towards India and China’s alignment with Pakistan.
Finally, India’s foreign policy has shown its focus where it aims to identify and propagate the fight against terrorism by collectivising the countries which share the same views as India on counter-terrorism.
Source : IAS BABA

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