What are the limitations of relying solely on operational superiority to manage strategic threats, as seen in the cases of Israel and India? (150 words)

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Introduction: Operational superiority refers to military prowess and technological capabilities to gain tactical advantage over an adversary. However, an overreliance on it while ignoring political solutions can prove counterproductive.


  • Israel managed the threat from Hamas and Gaza militants through periodic attrition campaigns since 2008. This operational superiority helped contain rockets and tunnels temporarily.
  • However, Israel ignored the political roots of the Palestine issue. It actively undermined the two-state solution and weakened moderate Palestinian forces like the Palestinian Authority.
  • Consequently, Hamas persisted with its ideology and violence as the only mode of politics. It eventually managed to inflict severe damage on Israel on 7th October 2023.
  • Similarly, India has procured advanced technologies like SPICE missiles and adopted punitive options post-Balakot. But it rejected political engagement with Pakistan after abrogating J&K’s autonomy.
  • Pakistan retains incentives for economic stability and containing extremism. But without political dialogue, it persists with anti-India hostility and terrorism.
  • Thus, relying solely on operational superiority while ignoring political solutions invites the adversary to persist with violence. A weaker enemy can still inflict disproportionate harm.

Conclusion: Operational superiority should be complemented by political engagement to address the underlying causes of a conflict. Purely military solutions are inadequate for strategic threats.

Learn more:

  • Israel’s approach masked the reality that it lacked a political plan to resolve the Israel-Palestine dispute.
  • Netanyahu sought to keep Palestinians divided and stall the peace process by weakening the Palestinian Authority.
  • India has right-sized its military focus on Pakistan and revived the LoC ceasefire. But more could be done.
  • However, India abrogated J&K’s autonomy, signalling the dispute is non-negotiable. It eschewed talks citing cross-border terrorism.
  • But Pakistan has incentives to build economic stability and counter terrorism. Political dialogue could yield confidence-building measures.
  • Operational superiority provides no guarantee against a highly resolved weaker enemy, as seen in Israel and India’s cases.

Reference: The Hindu – The cult of operational superiority, from Israel to India

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