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Understanding India's Cold Start Doctrine

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Industry' started by BlueOval, Aug 5, 2010.

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  1. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    This is an old but very effective blog entry that explains what is a "Cold Start", why is it important and what needs to be done to achieve and effective cold start strategy.

    The Indians have been doing a lot of investment in modernizing their command and control systems. They're working on what they call a "Cold Start" capability, that is, to be able to go to war immediately, with minimal preliminary fuss. At least one corps, II Corps, which is near the Pakistani border, is currently testing Cold Start capabilities in a major exercise.

    "Cold Start" is nothing new, it was something that evolved during the Cold War. Russia was expected to be preparing to use such a tactic in the 1980s, although it apparently never got beyond the planning stage. But the thought of it forced NATO forces to respond with their "come as you are war" doctrine. To make this work, you have to adjust your training schedules and war plans. And you have to practice. You also need first class communications and highly trained staff officers. All of this is within Indian capabilities, and they were already upgrading their communications. What will be really expensive, though, will be the training. Lots of fuel will be burned, equipment will be worn out, but the result will be a much more effective force.

    The Cold Start doctrine will also require the air force and navy to achieve similar levels of training and readiness. Moreover, the three services will have to mesh their peace time training and planning to a level never before achieved by the Indians. The United States has taken the lead in this combined-services activity, so the Indians will have a model to examine for trouble spots, and solutions.

    India going Cold Start makes its neighbor Pakistan nervous. The two nations are each others chief adversaries, most likely opponent in a future war, and both have nuclear weapons. Pakistan fears that India is preparing a first strike capability, a strategy that involves attempting to destroy Pakistan's nuclear forces before they can be used. Now, with Cold Start, the Indians could also rush in, defeat Pakistan's conventional forces, and settle half a century of disputes once and for all.

    Leadership: India Goes Cold Start
    4 people like this.
  2. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    Some Excerpts from Wikipedia:

    Cold Start is a military doctrine developed by the Indian armed forces. It involves joint operations between India’s three services and integrated battle groups for offensive operations. A key component is the preparation of India's forces to be able to quickly mobilise and take offensive actions without crossing the enemy’s nuclear-use threshold.

    Re-location of Armoured Divisions, Armoured Brigades and Strike Formations Headquarters

    Since the most significant aim of the new war doctrine is to strike offensively without giving away battle indicators of mobilization, it is imperative that all strike formations headquarters, Armoured Divisions and Armoured Brigades are re-located from their existing locations in Central India and in depth in Punjab to forward locations.

    All such formations should be moved forward to the general line of Barmer-Jaisalmer-Bikaner-Suratgarh from their present locations in the interior.
    It can be envisaged that armoured formations would be loath to move forward from their cushy cantonments on the plea that an adequate infrastructure should first come up. If infantry formations have existed in field area conditions for decades, there is no reason why armoured formations cannot similarly exist.

    In this connection, the author would like to observe based on his exposures to NATO armies and United States forward deployments in Okinawa and Korea that no Army wastes so much money on building huge garages etc. for their tanks. Field coverings of tanks etc. should suffice.

    Since conflicts in South Asia can erupt without long drawn out battle indicators, it is necessary that armoured formations are moved to the general line suggested above, and infrastructure creation can follow.

    Higher Commanders Mental Robustness and Military Audacity

    Military operations of the type envisaged in Indian Army’s new war doctrine incorporates swift, fluid and relentless offensive operations, without the luxury of pauses and time duration spans of defensive operations to which Indian Army’s higher echelons are so conditioned to today.

    Such swift and mobile fast-paced operations present the challenges of rapidly changing tactical situations and fleeting opportunities. The exploitation of these demands a high order of mental resilience and an eagle eye for reading such rapidly changing battle situations.

    Military audacity does not come overnight. It has to be cultivated over a long period of time. If the German Panzer generals like Rommel and Guderian had been brought up in defensive mindsets of the Indian Army and the Indian political leadership, the blitzkrieg’ lightening operations with which they covered themselves with glory would not have come their way.

    Military orthodoxy in the Indian Army must give way to military audacity and offensive spirit, and the Indian Army higher commanders should ensure that it becomes the hallmark of junior leaders too.

    C4I-(Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Networks) Need Upgradation and Fine Tuning:

    Mechanized offensive operations by joint Army and Air Force cooperation require a highly upgraded and fine tuned C4I network. Since line communications become redundant in such a war doctrine, so envisaged, the command and control of such mechanized operations where fresh orders have to be passed every other minute, there will be a generation of high density traffic on C4I networks.

    The Indian Army would have to create an extensive C4I network which can handle high density traffic on the move, which is secure, having scrambling and unscrambling features including digital voice fax and telex encryption capabilities.

    Alternative and duplicate means will also have to be provided due to disruptions and destruction by enemy action.

    Indian Air Force (IAF) Planning and Concept of Operations

    The Indian Air Force may have a marked superiority over its traditional enemies in terms of sophisticated combat aircraft and advanced training,but this is not enough by itself.

    The entire Indian Air Force planning will have to undergo a significant re-orientation in terms of concept of operations.

    The following points need to be noted

    • New war doctrine of the Indian Army would call for more massed air operations as against compartmentalized sorties and small scale air operations in vogue so far.
    • IAF should be able to generate very high sortie rates round the clock with effective maintenance support.
    • Advanced C4I systems and use of AWACS system is a must. Indian Defence Ministry needs to speed up AWACS acquisition. In the interim explore for a lease; it may not be a problem.
    • PGMs (Precision guided munitions) would be used extensively in such operations. Extensive stocks should be built up from now.
    • Systems to paralyse and jam enemy radar and air defence networks would be a high priority.
    • The aim of the IAF in support of the Indian Army’s new war doctrine should be to combine mass with technology and PGMs and advanced munitions to paralyse the enemy’s reaction and destroy his war waging materiel and potential.

    Air Defence Networks and Systems

    A sizeable expansion of India’s air-defence network would be required with multi-layered air defence in terms of surveillance, range capabilities and engagement ranges. This would need to be backed by an effective C4I system integral to the air defence system.

    Mobile air defence weapon systems for the strike formations, combat area air defence networks, rear areas air defence networks for VAs and VPs and of all air bases calls for significant investments.

    It must be remembered that an effective Air defence system for IAF bases would enable release of that many combat aircraft on air defence duties to support combat operations. India’s air defence planning should now also incorporate ballistic missile defense systems as the enemy has a vast array of ballistic missiles. Here one is not talking of the NMD or TMD level of ballistic missile defences but of the US PATRIOT or the Russian S-300 systems.

    The fourth generation of S-300 that is S-300PMU-1 system entered in service in 1995. In the Russian arsenal, a battery of this system includes 48 48N6 missiles mounted on 12-transport-erector-launchers. The missiles have a range of 5–150 km and a maximum altitude of 27 km.All of this supported by a highly sophisticated C4I battle management system including engagement radars. It is named as ALMUZ 83 M6.
    India was considering acquisition of these mobile systems but the “considering†has now to be translated into 'fast track' acquisition.

    Integration with Nuclear Warfare Plans Both Defensive and Offensive

    India’s new war doctrine has to take into account that in the execution of its “Cold Start†War Doctrine and if lightening success comes their way, the enemy could use its nuclear weapons or even tactical nuclear weapons it might have.

    India’s execution of its new war doctrine must be integrated with nuclear warfare plans both defensive and offensive. And by defensive it is meant that the enemy goes in for in first strike and by offensive it is meant the scenario in which India resorts to “second strike†in response. In both cases strike formations of Indian Army will have to operate on a nuclear battlefield.

    NBC proofing of tanks/APCs, provision of NBC combat suits for personnel and systems within strike formations

    As a corollary of the above it follows that on first priority, the Indian Army’s strike formations to be used in the new war doctrine are well equipped for battlefield combat under NBC conditions. It means that all tanks and APCs, command and control tanks, and allied vehicles, have NBC sealing kits and that strike formations are equipped with decontamination vehicles and kits and that all personnel are equipped with NBC suits to undertake battle operations in NBC scenario.

    Imperatives of Digitalised Real Time Information and Satellite Coverage

    India’s intelligence penetration of traditional enemies such as the Pakistan Army in terms of human intelligence is not satisfactory. This limitation has to be off-set by technical means encompassing high attitude surveillance aircraft and satellite imagery with high resolution.

    More importantly, such technical means should be geared to provide real time digitalized information to strike force commanders, with special reference to movements of enemy’s reserve formations. The Indian Army has to devise and acquire systems for such capabilities.

    Indian Army’s Electronic Warfare (EW) Capabilities Enhancement

    Fortunately, the Indian Army has been focusing on this aspect from the 1980s, but the demands of the new war doctrine call for an effective enhancement of existing EW capabilities.

    India’s EW capabilities must cater for jamming and neutralizing of the enemy's nuclear command and control systems, air-defense and surveillance system jamming and a complete paralysis of the enemies C4I system in the battlefield area of India’s strike formations.

    India’s technological capability in electronics and allied systems and Information Technology should enable it to use cyber-warfare as a force multiplier.

    India’s ICBM and SLBM Development: India’s new doctrine would be unable to generate its full potential without an ICBM and SLBM back-up. Both in the Congress regimes and in the BJP regime, external pressures have impeded their development. A national will is now required for a “Fast track ’’materialisation of these missiles in India’s missile arsenal.

    Concluding Observations

    The Indian Army needs to make an exhaustive study of United States military operations in Gulf War I and Gulf War II. The Chinese have painstakingly gone through every detail of US military operations to draw the relevant lessons.
    It would be wrong to surmise that the US military has been ineffective in Iraq because of the present problems that have now surfaced. These problems are post-war and are political in nature and do not detract from the US military’s use of high-technology war-fighting to subdue the enemy by demoralization of the Iraqi military machine in the war fighting phase.
    This is not pontificating but an accurate appraisal of the achievable in relation to strategic means available. The only caveat being that it calls for national political will to use military power ruthlessly and the military hierarchy of India to be militarily audacious and relentless in offensive operations

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
    2 people like this.
  3. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    This is the most objective analysis of India's Cold Start Doctrine I could find from Pakistan Media. I am not saying its absolutly perfect...but thats how close to objectivity you get about your enemy.

    This is how Pakistan sees India's cold start doctrine.

    Strategic alliance with USA helps India in fulfilling its grandeur plans to become the regional and world power. In 1971, Soviet Union had helped India in achieving a false military victory and in truncating Pakistan. Indians now hope that America would help in fulfilling their dream of either reducing Pakistan into an Indian satellite or removing it from the face of world map. It is in this context that Indo-US-UK-Israeli-Afghan nexus has been formed in Kabul which is dedicated towards harming Pakistan. Both covert means and media campaign are complementing each other to achieve stated objectives. The Indo-western media has embarked upon a malicious campaign to besmirch the reputation of institutions of Pakistan and project it as a failing state. All sorts of fairytales are fabricated and pasted in leading newspapers and magazines controlled by the Jews. Deadlines are given and each time the given the given date expires uneventfully; a new deadline of collapse of Pakistan is given with a heavy heart but with renewed hopes.

    Several scenarios are in circulation ranging from truncation to break up in small quasi states. Independent Balochistan and Pashtunistan figure high in their fanciful plans. Each of the self-perceived scenario is linked to Islamic threat in northwest of Pakistan. One of the principle objectives of India is to weaken ISI and cut its long-arm capability drastically so that it is neither in a position to harm India through covert means or to provide first line defence to Pakistan effectively against external subversive threats. Pakistan specific Indian consulates in Afghanistan and tens of RAW infested training, educational and cultural centres have nothing else to do except to devise different means to cause harm to Pakistan and destabilise it.

    To give concrete shape to the chalked out plans, the said nexus unfolded a comprehensive subversive plan in January 2002 to systematically destabilize Pakistan. Fuel was constantly sprinkled in interior Balochistan, FATA and Swat to inflame these regions. Brahamdagh Bugti based in Kandahar and patronized by RAW-CIA-RAAM is coordinating sabotage and subversion in Balochistan. Southern Punjab and Karachi are planned to be inflamed in the final phase to spread anarchy throughout the country so as to pave way for disablement of our nuclear weapons and to clear the way for India to launch its military instrument. Washington’s continued insistence to make India a key player in Afghanistan and to induct its 150,000 troops is meant to enable Indo-Afghan forces to exploit yet another avenue from the northwest and catch Pakistan in a double pincer.

    Indian Cold Start doctrine envisages formation of battle groups supported by dedicated artillery, combat air support and tactical nuclear weapons. It perceives launching 15-16 limited attacks along the entire length of eastern border and Line of Control (LoC) with battle groups of two mechanised regiments and an armour regiment or vice versa. Each battle group is mandated to capture an objective of tactical importance and to exploit success as far as possible but remaining well away from core areas so as to restrain Pakistan from using its nuclear response. Having dispersed the defender on a wide front in battle of frontiers, trying to defend every inch of the territory, subject to successes achieved, and deflection or commitment of our strategic reserves, it would then launch main and secondary efforts with its strike formations in two sectors. Indian military would achieve air superiority in main effort area for a specific period of break in and break out battle towards deeper objectives.

    After Mumbai attacks, India continues to remain in an offensive mode and is in no mood to recommence stalled peace talks. Pakistan’s concerted efforts spread over one year to make India see reason have gone in vain. Flustered and frustrated by quick successes achieved by Pakistan Army against Indian funded and trained terrorists in Swat and in South Waziristan, Indian leaders have taken a new line that runaway militants after getting defeated have become a security hazard for India. Since last May, they are wailing like a frightened child in anticipation to a self-imagined terrorist attack emanating from Pakistan on the pattern of Mumbai-like carnage. When asked to provide intelligence so that the mishap could be thwarted they refuse to divulge the basis of their anxiety. Indian media has alleged that Dave Headly and Tahawar Hussain Rana suspected for terrorism in USA were linked with Mumbai attacks and that Dave was observed sniffing around Indian nuclear sites. Accordingly, Indian authorities have sounded a red alert in affected areas where their nuclear material is stored to avert a possible attack. To further up the ante, Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor has sounded a warning that a limited war under the nuclear overhang is still very much a reality, at least in Indian subcontinent. Our foreign office spokesman rightly remarked that it reaffirms Indian dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine.

    In the wake of Pakistan going nuclear in 1998 in response to Indian nuclear blackmail, which has made the option of all out war almost impossible, Indian military has been feverishly working on its Cold Start doctrine which was shaped in consultation with Israeli military. The three services of India have also been acquiring latest state-of-art weapon systems from all over the world and upgrading its nuclear arsenal as a consequence of which the conventional and nuclear balance has tilted heavily in favour of India. Simultaneous to the efforts by the military, RAW has been hectically engaged in weakening and destabilising Pakistan from within. Its focus has been towards enfeebling and discrediting Pakistan Army and ISI. Application of military instrument has been made conditional to success achieved through covert operations against these two pillars. India observed the pulse of Pakistan for ten months in 2002 after manufacturing a terrorist attack on Indian parliament in December 2001 and again after Mumbai carnage in November 2008 that was also cooked up. Both times, it found Pakistan Army well poised and resilient and had to beat a retreat.

    India may be visualising that this time Pakistan Army has got deeply embroiled in several troubled spots and is not in a position to withdraw as was the case last time. It is hoping that Pashtun and Baloch militants would be fighting Pakistan Army in case of war with India. It is satisfied with its successful policy of encirclement and destabilisation of Pakistan resulting in enfeeblement of its economy. It considers overall geo-political environment favourable. It considers the time ripe for devising another drama to justify its troop build up. The purpose will be:

    1. Coerce the leadership to extract further concessions as it had extorted after military standoff in 2002-03.
    2. Relieve pressure on Tehrik-e-Taliban and make it recapture lost ground.
    3. Demolish Balochistan package which has the potential of defusing separatist movement sponsored by India.
    4. Rejuvenate demoralised RAW agents operating within Pakistan.
    5. Force Pakistan to liquidate Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad and to hand over alleged culprits of Mumbai carnage to India.
    6. Force Pakistan to fight terrorism as dictated by USA and India.
    7. Further weaken economy of Pakistan.
    8. Force Pakistan to accept pre-eminence of India in Afghanistan and in the region and to allow its trade with Afghanistan through Wagah.
    9. Solve Kashmir dispute by accepting LoC as permanent border.

    In case Pakistan refuse to be cowed down, it might initiate Cold Start but it would be subject to full assurance by USA that it would prevent Pakistan Army from assembly and move of nukes to deployment areas.

    War game codenamed Azm-e-Nau was conducted to tackle emerging Indian threat along eastern front revolving around Cold Start but did not take into account possible ingress from western border and expansion of limited war into full-fledged war. In 1971 in East Pakistan, India first weakened Pakistan Army contingent through civil war and psychological operations. Indian military then induced threat perception which forced us to take up an exaggerated forward posture all along 1400 miles border to prevent any piece of land falling into enemy hands. Dispersed in penny packets we were strong nowhere. Indian offensive launched on 21 November from multiple directions succeeded in making 23 lodgement areas across the border. In our bid to liquidate or contain the ingresses we committed everything we had in the battle of frontiers. After an operational pause and having fixed our forces in compartments, Indian forces under massive air cover launched main, secondary and auxiliary offensives from three different directions on 4 December and raced towards Dacca. Making a dispassionate comparison of East Pakistan offensive with Cold Start one finds certain similarities.

    Pakistan has already suffered grievously because of its exaggerated policy of appeasement and cannot afford to cede more ground and that too at the cost of its sovereignty and dignity. We need to condition our forces and structure them organisationally to fight two front wars together with internal threat in the southwest and northwest. Blissfully, Pakistan Army is in its finest trim and is in position to meet any challenge resolutely. Having found out foolproof evidence of involvement of RAW in aiding and abetting terrorism in Pakistan, and the US and UK complicit in the evil game of destabilising, denuclearising and balkanising Pakistan, should we still be imprudently calling these so-called friends as our well-wishers and relying on them? I have no doubt in my mind that the US would not betray Israel or India but would certainly betray Pakistan and leave it in a lurch once again.

    Same go for Afghanistan under US puppet Karzai who has provided Afghan soil to foreign agencies for launching covert operations against Pakistan. He doesn’t realise that India, whom he considers as a sincere and dear friend is gradually working towards reducing Afghanistan into its client state. If US Administration is negotiating with Afghan Taliban, we have every right to keep in touch with them particularly after their worthy role in hour of crisis. While US military opted to vacate border check posts, Afghan Taliban refused to come to the aid of fake Taliban in South Waziristan.

    How long will we follow humiliating policy of appeasement which is ruining Pakistan? Isn’t it high time to sound the bugle and chase out Blackwater type non-actors from the soil of Pakistan before they swoop at our nukes and whisk them away? We need to guard our nukes with utmost vigilance and cut those hands that try to get near them. Operation Rah-e-Nijat which has proceeded excellently should clear South Waziristan of the presence of hardcore local and foreign terrorists speedily. After returning extra forces to peace locations, process of rehabilitation of people of South Waziristan to be put into full gear. These assets must be handled with utmost care and affection. They deserve an even better package then Balochistan since none among them raised the slogan of separation or sought materialistic gains.

    Indian Cold Start doctrine
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
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  4. prototype

    prototype Major SENIOR MEMBER

    May 31, 2010
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    somehow i always think the cold start is not a possible option in the present scenario due to obvious reasons

    First of all India currently lack the infrastructure required for this kind of operation currently,Indian army currently does not have any rapid strike formation's,although the new purchases like Globemaster,Super Hercules and M-777 show a move ahead to this plan,most of our armored divisions r located deep inside our country which should have been in the border area's,i exactly have no idea how prompt r our c4i capabilities,though the good news is our military being under rapid modernization and growing more network centric, Indian intelligence network was never satisfactory,Kargil was an example,so India should widely make use of its huge network of satellites for this purpose,India should atleast have 4 to 5 military dedicated satellites,the purchases of huge India of AWACS done by India also aid in this matter,finally its about our air defense,we should have solid against our adversaries ballistic missiles,though the Indian cities r heavily guarded by s-300 batteries but that is not enough,our indigenous ABM's r still under development phase

    Secondly any such move by Indian military will take Pakistani military circuit by chaos,India enjoy an overwhelming superiority over Pakistan which is only slated to grow wider by every passing minute,we still have no idea how they will respond to this,currently we have to understand that no war will limited and b considered as short and swift war by Pakistani authorities,once they saw their deterrence fall like cards before Indian offence,they will possibly respond by their most well known deterrence(as their ego will choose a mutually assured destruction more than defeat by Indian hands), Pakistani delivery systems r build on the soviet model which is highly mobile and how India plan to take all of them out is currently not known,a nuclear response clearly will not b in agenda of the cold start,this is were we should have a good ABM cover,though we can only hope that it may succeed at a 100% efficiency

    Third still our military and command central lacks this kind of audacity,i seems hardly they will initiate a war against a rouge regime which consider the nuclear button as a pistol trigger
  5. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    India Denies ‘Cold Start’ PlanOld news But I think it would be of some help in setting the record straight

    India has told the United States that, contrary to speculation, it doesn’t have a ‘cold start’ doctrine for invading Pakistan within days of any conflict breaking out.

    The ‘cold start’ doctrine is a version of World War II’s ‘blitzkrieg’ principle, under which India would mobilize within four days against Pakistan, rather than taking the minimum two months believed to be required to move a substantial invasion force to the eastern border.

    The doctrine was mentioned following ‘Operation Parakram’ in December 2001, when Indian troops were mobilized after the Indian Parliament was attacked by Pakistani terrorists.

    The previous Indian army chief, Deepak Kapoor, alluded to ‘cold start’ and the possibility of fighting a ‘limited war under a nuclear overhang’, comments which angered Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan used these comments to justify its refusal of American requests to move the bulk of its troops to the east to fight the Taliban.

    According to reports, the US asked for clarification from India about ‘cold start’, a doctrine that the Indian Army denied was central to its considerations.

    In a press interview, Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh said simply, ‘There is nothing called “Cold Start.” As part of our overall strategy, we have a number of contingencies and options, depending on what the aggressor does. In recent years, we’ve been improving our systems with respect to mobilization, but our basic military posture is defensive.’

    India Denies ‘Cold Start’ Plan | Indian Decade
  6. ek_indian

    ek_indian Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Apr 14, 2010
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    I believe cold start has following component.

    (1) Formation of offensive strike groups which could be used to take initial advantage while negotiations. These groups would be used to capture strategic points but will be short of posing any existantial threat to Pakistan. The purpose is to avoid nuclear weapon usage.
    (2) There is plan to modify our corps to play dual role both as strike and holding. This way we can have maximum number of offensive and defensive forces to use as and when requested in whatever role. Also combat skills for the all three services will be improved in technical, infrastructure and others.
    (3) Enhancing command and cotrol center and increase electronic & communication warfare capabilities. Mobility is also a big factor in this.
    (3) Optimum coordination between three services to achieve desired result. For example, air force might be used to remove enemy's defenses while army strikes a position.
    (5) Develop a capability of credible anti nuclear weapon capability.
    (6) There might be more that one war fronts for India. We need to get dominance in one and hold our positions in others.

    I got this article which is worth reading.


    P.S. --> What's wrong with the percentage sign?
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  7. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    Cold Start as Deterrence against Proxy War

    Cold Start as Deterrence against Proxy War

    For some months now, the Indian Army’s ‘Cold Start’ (CS) doctrine has been attracting a lot of attention from Western diplomats, generals and political leaders. The reason is simple: the Pakistanis, who were reluctant to move against their ‘strategic assets’ (aka Taliban and al Qaeda affiliates like Lashkar-e-Taiba), have self-servingly flagged this doctrine as proof of India’s hostile and aggressive design. Waving the ‘threat’ from India, the Pakistan Army has been resisting pressure from the West to redeploy troops from the eastern border to the western front. The gullible Westerners appear to have bought the Pakistani line and are seeking to persuade India to renounce the CS doctrine. This, the Westerners believe, is the magic bullet to address Pakistan’s sense of insecurity and allow the Pakistan Army to move against terrorist safe havens inside Pakistani territory.

    How much the CS doctrine has spooked the Pakistanis is clear from the statements of the Pakistani political leaders and generals. Addressing senior officers in the GHQ on 1st January, the Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani called the CS doctrine “an adventurous and dangerous pathâ€. He flogged this theme during his talk at the NATO headquarters in Brussels and later in a meeting with Pakistani journalists where he showed deep concern over the Indian Army’s preparations for making the CS doctrine operational. Taking the cue from him, the National Command Authority of Pakistan issued a statement in which it said that “offensive doctrines like Cold Start...tend to destabilise the regional balance.†The Azm-e-Nau military exercises, held in April-May 2010, were primarily aimed at countering the CS strategy of the Indian Army. Completely at a loss to understand Pakistan's recalcitrance over acting against Islamist terror groups, the West appears to have latched on to Pakistan’s India bogey as a possible solution to end the Pakistani double-game in the war on terror. Hence, the efforts to try and make India back off from the CS strategy.

    The problem, however, is that no amount of disavowals by India, and no amount of security assurances by the US or other Western nations, will ever convince Pakistan, which has been badly rattled by the CS doctrine, that India’s basic defence posture is defensive in nature and orientation. Despite the Indian Army Chief General VK Singh denying the existence of any such doctrine, the CS strategy has acquired a life of its own in the Pakistani military mind.

    Come to think of if, this is probably not such a bad thing from India’s point of view. Even as strategists debate the practicality or otherwise of the concept of a limited war under a nuclear overhang and the CS doctrine as a military strategy – after all, the battleground has a nasty habit of springing surprises that can ground the most well-prepared battle plans – the doctrine’s validity has been confirmed by Pakistan's frenetic efforts to put in place a counter strategy. That the Pakistan Army is preparing to counter the CS by its conventional forces and not through use of nuclear weapons is a tacit acceptance of both the theory of limited war under a nuclear overhang as well as the exploitation of this strategic space through the device of CS doctrine.

    More important, however, has been the utility of the CS doctrine as a tool of psy-war. Not only has it unsettled the adversary, it has also put in place an effective deterrent against the proxy war unleashed by Pakistan-sponsored terror groups in India. In other words, Pakistan can no longer be sure whether or not India will resort to lightening strikes across the border in response to actions by Pakistani terror groups inside India. The prospect of sudden retaliation by India effectively means that the impunity with which Pakistan was exporting terror to India is in grave danger. Perhaps, this is one of the major reasons why there has been no major terrorist attack in India since 26/11.

    But the utility of CS as a deterrent to sub-conventional warfare or proxy warfare depends in large measure on the credibility of the deterrent. In a sense, the dynamics and dialectics of a sub-conventional deterrence like CS are no different from those of nuclear deterrence. As and when India effectively operationalises the CS doctrine, it will have to ensure that the adversary knows the resolve of the Indian state to implement this strategy in response to another major terrorist strike. This is critical to prevent any miscalculation or misreading by Pakistan of India’s resolve. While the retaliation does not have to be immediate – to quote Mario Puzo “revenge is a dish that tastes best when it is cold†– any failure by India to resort to CS in response to a terror attack supported, inspired or originating from Pakistan will degrade the value of the deterrence.

    It is in this sense that the CS doctrine is a double-edged weapon for both India and Pakistan. To retain credibility India will have to retaliate militarily using the CS strategy, otherwise not only will India lose all credibility but it will also embolden Pakistan to continue to unleash jihadist terror on India. But retaliation will put India on the escalation ladder which could easily go beyond the scope and scale of CS operations. The big unknown is that with sub-conventional deterrence in the form of CS doctrine breaking down, how much time and what level of desperation of either party will force them to take the next escalatory step which in turn could lead to making real the spectre of a nuclear exchange in the subcontinent.

    To an extent, the escalation ladder will depend on how Pakistan responds to a CS by India. The dilemma for Pakistan will be that if it does not respond with its nuclear weapons, it will not only validate India's belief of space for a limited war under a nuclear overhang but, more seriously, rob Pakistan of its nuclear deterrent, if only in the context of a limited war. In other words, Pakistan will face a Hobson’s choice: it can either degrade the quality of its nuclear deterrent or it can unleash a nuclear holocaust which will not only wipe it out but wreck horrendous damage on India and indeed on the rest of the world.

    As long as the sub-conventional deterrence holds, the enunciation of the Cold Start doctrine actually introduces a degree of strategic stability in the region by forcing Pakistan to exercise extreme caution in unleashing terrorist violence in India. Far from asking India to renounce the CS doctrine or put it in the cold storage, the West needs to impress upon Pakistan that it can no longer expect India to roll over and play dead in response to actions of terror groups based inside Pakistan. If Pakistan stops using terror as an instrument of state policy, the CS strategy will stay in the cold storage. Otherwise, all bets are off.

    Cold Start as Deterrence against Proxy War | Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
  8. BlueOval

    BlueOval Captain SENIOR MEMBER

    Jul 15, 2010
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    Re: Cold Start as Deterrence against Proxy War

    Cold Start doctrine and Pakistan’s countermeasures:

    The deteriorating Pak-US relations harbour the potential of encouraging attempted exploitation by interested third parties, besides the imbedded threat of direct and indirect military adventurism by the ever uneasy ‘ally’ of Pakistan. War and the threat of war is a serious business which can neither be left to conjecture, wishful thinking or mere imagination. Every move made by the adversary requires inquiry and a thorough investigation; for any miscalculation in the intent or response can be disastrous in the event of the outbreak of war, especially in the nuclear context.

    India and Pakistan have remained in a state of rivalry for almost 63 years; more than the historic rivalry that existed between the United States and the USSR. Furthermore the transformation in their respective war doctrines have also remained locked in the historic tradition of British war fighting, battle plans and strategic outcomes. The force differential between the states in case of the army is almost 3:1.

    However, since 1980s there has been a deliberate effort by India to capitalise and modernise its military thought process. The first visible transformation was undertaken by General Sunderji, who introduced the concept of blitzkrieg, deep operations and simultaneous offensives in the war plans. This transformation reduced the threshold of war between the two protagonists. It increased the level of the threat of loss and suffered from a serious flaw of quick and swift mobilisation from the four Indian strike corps located almost 200 to 600 kms of the Pakistani border.

    Exhibited in 2001-2002 Operation Parakram, despite the Indian political decision to go to war, the Indian army was not in a position to launch a major offensive against Pakistan till almost 3 weeks into the crisis — giving Pakistan sufficient time to activate its layered defence. The challenge was caused as a result of the huge mobilization time lines of India-vis-a-vis Pakistan. In the Cold Start Doctrine (CSD), India has worked towards removing these conceptual as well as practical difficulties.

    The effort is consistent, concentrated and concentric aimed at an up gradation, mobilisation differential, battlefield visibility (surveillance and night warfare capability), real time intelligence, network centric ability-multiple assaults, integration of aviation attack/transport helicopters (supported by the IAF) and delegation of force initiation to the theatre level. In terms of force posture, the defence transformation is aimed at the primary goals: battle readiness, stand-alone capacity or the delegation of initiative at the theatre command level, small highly mechanised units capable of carrying out independent action as well as a collective strike operation and war objective, and intense fire power and enhanced mobility.

    It drives from the larger military policy of a limited war and the pre-eminence of pre-emption. This caused a change in the military concept of deep operations that had required an engagement with the defensive forces and a sequential engagement with the reserves through deep manoeuvres and vertical envelopment and lastly the engagement of the full enemy defences through air attacks.

    The CSD is geared to create 8 Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) with an armoured division or mechanised infantry division size force; depending upon the war objectives, the ability of the Defensive Corps to carry out both defensive and offensive operations. The widespread battle integration and increased capacity to carry out independent or joint operation in stand-alone mode or in sync with air and aviation underline the following trends. Indian military forces are actually under a transformation to carry out operations under a nuclear environment. The aim is to deny Pakistan conventional deterrence space and counter force target for offensive nuclear strikes (tactical or strategic — the seamless web of mobilisation); making Pakistani nuclear posture (strategic value targeting irrelevant) to actual conduct of war and ensuring space for swift and intense battlefield operations.

    The addition of the airlift component to the IBGs would allow India also the ability to carry out Swat kind of operation with minimum human force and maximum technological punch; thereby creating a situation of targets having greater spatial access and lesser response options. Moreover, as the CSD would operationalise, the size of forces would decrease with larger offensive punch and ability to carry out more than anticipated strikes and operations against Pakistan; resulting in the biggest challenge to the linear defence of Pakistan’s eastern border, and in future with the ability to move to the western front as well. Therefore, the crystallisation or the real possibility of two front war based swift action and deep penetration; a supposition different than projected. This may not be the aim in the initial operationalisation phase but can be anticipated in future.

    The assumptions for this is based on the strategic calculation that if the threat of terrorism faced by Pakistan continues in future and becomes a primary threat to Pakistan; challenging both the internal polity of Pakistan and the external manifestation of the state of Pakistan. Therefore, rendering the state structure weak, or insufficient, to deal with the threat as it develops. This would in-turn, when confronted by an Indian offensive, draw out or stretch out Pakistani conventional military response to multiple theatres and deny Pakistani strategic offensive options in the process of war.

    Given the small target space for nuclear weapons and forcing Pakistan to use nuclear weapons in only as strategic value targeting; the deterrence gap is created as a result of the doctrine of mobility. This is further supplemented by the fact the Pakistani nuclear weapons are under a centralised command and control, and in non-deployed status; initially designed to give intra-war crisis stability and more time to the decision makers. In the cold start, the assumption is that Pakistani defences would be stretched, and in the absence of viable counter force targets; the differential for use of strategic value targets to Pakistan under the nuclear environment would be denied. Thereby creating a deterrence gap and space for a limited war ultimately leading to a situation where India’s technological and economic differential would aid to determine the outcome of the war (To be continued)

    Cold Start doctrine and Pakistan
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