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Killing India’s Hidden Cold Start Strategy

November 6, 2010

Qutaiba

The New York Times in a front page story tries to portray the impression that the Cold Start Strategy does not exist. It is amazing the Stephen Cohen one of the authors of “Cold Start Strategy” who has eulogized it on National Television now says that “Cold Start Strategy” does not exist. Many Bharati journals have been talking about it since Mumbai, and Bharat Verma has written multiple articles on it in the Indian Defense Journal.


  • Senior American Military commanders have sought to press India to formally disavow a  military doctrine called Cold Start
  • Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, is among those who have warned internally about the dangers of Cold Start
  • Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Richard C. Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, share these fears.
  • Pakistani officials have repeatedly stressed to the United States that worries about Cold Start are at the root of their refusal to redeploy forces away from the border with India
  • That point was made most recently during a visit to Washington last month by Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani.

Much of this so called “Cold Start Strategy” is based on the Israeli strategy which it tried to implement in Lebanon. Israel was unable to implement its objectives in Lebanon and had to withdraw even from the Litani River. Israel failed to achieve its goals in Lebanon. In Lebanon, Israel was unable to stop the barrage of missiles from Lebanon even on the last day. Many consider this Israel’s defeat.India’s Cold start war strategy and the Pakistani Nuclear response.

Gen Kapoor’s provocative doctrine: Pakistani countermeasures

  • The essence of the Cold Start doctrine is reorganising the army’s offensive power that resides in the three strike corps into eight smaller division-sized integrated battle groups (IBGs) consisting of armour and mechanised infantry and artillery, closely supported by helicopter gunships, air force and airborne troops (parachute and heliborne).
  • The IBGs are to be positioned close to the border so that three to five are launched into Pakistan along different axes within 72 to 96 hours from the time mobilisation is ordered.
  • Cold Start thus envisages rapid thrusts even when the defensive corps’ deployment is yet to be completed, and high-speed operations conducted day and night until the designated objectives are achieved
  • The probable objective areas for Cold Start could be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor from two directions, an IBG along Jammu-Sialkot-Daska axis and another across the Ravi to link up with the first IBG, and (2) in the south against Reti-Rahim Yar Khan-Kashmore complex.
  • To counter Cold Start, the Pakistan Army will have to create more armour-dominated brigade-sized reserves from the existing resources if possible, and a more flexible military system and structure.
  • For Pakistan the dimensions of time and space assume paramount importance as it lacks territorial depth, is opposed by a larger adversary and lacks the resources to fight a protracted war.
  • The strategy of pre-emption is thus imposed on Pakistan in the same way it was imposed on Israel prior to the 1967 war.
  • The fact that the Pakistan Army can occupy their wartime locations earlier than the Indian army confers on it the ability to pre-empt Cold Start;
  • failure to do so could lead to firing of low-yield tactical warheads at IBGs as they cross the start line or even earlier
  • Pakistani countermeasures to Cold Start Strategy-battle-ready nuclear weapons
  • India said on Monday it is monitoring the situation following media reports suggesting Pakistan is allegedly digging tunnels in Sargodha district
  • “We are attempting to establish the purpose of digging up such large tunnels,” an intelligence official was quoted as saying in the reports. “These clearly cannot be meant for transport as is obvious from the images available; they don’t lead on to roads,” he added.
  • Delhi’s Cold Start Strategy Frozen DOA (Dead On Arrival)

The US had taken up concerns by Pakistan on the perceived ‘Cold Start’ strategy of the Indian Army that envisages rapid deployment of troops on the western border to escalate to a full blown war within days but has been told that such a doctrine does not exist but is a term that has been fabricated by think tanks.

The matter was repeatedly taken up by senior US Defence delegations after Pakistan voiced concerns that diverting more troops to the Afghan border would not be feasible given the Indian ‘Cold Start’ strategy that could bring offensive elements of the Indian Army to its eastern border within four days.

While the US has been assured that no such doctrine exists, the Army has now come on record to say that ‘Cold Start’ is not part of its doctrine. Army Chief General V K Singh has told this newspaper that India’s basic military posture remains defensive.

NEW DELHI — Senior American military commanders have sought to press India to formally disavow a  military doctrine that they contend is fueling tensions between India and Pakistan; hindering the American war effort in Afghanistan.

But with Obama arriving in India on Saturday for a closely watched three-day visit, administration officials said they did not expect him to broach the subject of the doctrine, known informally as Cold Start. At the most, these officials predicted, Mr. Obama will forecfully encourage India’s leaders to do what they can to cool tensions between these nuclear-armed neighbors.

India now denies the very existence of Cold Start, a plan to deploy new ground forces that could strike inside Pakistan quickly in the event of a conflict. India has argued strenuously that the United States, if it wants a wide-ranging partnership of leading democracies, has to stop viewing it through the lens of Pakistan and the Afghanistan war.

Some in the administration who agree that the United States and India should focus on broader concerns, including commercial ties, military sales, climate change and regional security. However vital the Afghan war effort, officials said, it has lost out in the internal debate to priorities like American jobs and the rising role of China.

“There are people in the administration who want us to engage India positively,” said an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations. “They don’t care about Afghanistan. Then there are people, like Petraeus, who have wars to fight.” NY Times.

Gen David Petraeus, the top commander in Afghanistan, is among those who have warned internally about the dangers of Cold Start, according to American and Indian officials. Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Richard Holbrooke, the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, share these fears.

The strategy calls for India to create fast-moving battle groups that could deliver a contained but sharp retaliatory ground strike inside Pakistan within three days of suffering a terrorist attack by militants based in Pakistan, yet not do enough damage to set off a nuclear confrontation.

Pakistani officials have repeatedly stressed to the United States that worries about Cold Start are at the root of their refusal to redeploy forces away from the border with India so that they can fight Islamic militants in the frontier region near Afghanistan. That point was made most recently during a visit to Washington last month by Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. NY Times.

  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Nuclear deterrence & Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) blunts Bharat’s Cold Start Strategy
  • Why India did not attack Pakistan in 2002 and 2008?
  • The India-Pakistan war
  • Delhi’s Cold Start Strategy Frozen DOA (Dead on Arrival)
  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Pakistani response to “India’s Cold start strategy”: Limited strikes against targets vs Hot War leading to Nuclear Armageddon
  • Indian Airforce crying wolf? or facing shortage of jets?
  • India’s Cold War strategy guarantees hot war—Nuclear annihilation
  • India knows that it can never win a conventional warfare because of the Nuclear Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). However it still harbors notions of winning a sort of a mini war. India may think it has a Cold Start Strategy, but it may end as a hot nuclear war. Indian Defense planners cannot guarantee that a limited strike will not escalte into a full fledged war. A full fledged war witha nuclear armed labor may destroy both countries. Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:

    While engaging the Kashmir question must be the priority, a much more serious problem is that in less than a decade India has twice threatened us with all-out war in less than a decade, in December 2002 and 2008, using terrorist action by non-state actors as a pretext both times. As the name suggests, the Indian “COLD START” strategy envisages moving Indian forces without any warning or mobilisation into unpredictable locations at high speeds against Pakistan (on the Israeli pattern of 1956 and 1967) seeking to defeat Pakistan by achieving total surprise at both the strategic and the operational levels (remember Pearl Harbour), striving for a decision before the US or China could intervene on Pakistan’s behalf. An unspoken assumption seems to be that “rapid operations would prevent India’s civilian leadership from halting military operations in progress, lest it have second thoughts or possess insufficient resolve”. Does this particular Indian military psyche conform to the so-called civilian control of the Indian military? Facing a foe having 3:1 superiority, and with such a history and such an offensive strategy, we may be forgiven for our “India fixation”.

    The military challenges for Pakistan posed by COLD START derails any resolve for sustained peace with India, re-constituting Pakistan’s strategy to take on all five of India’s “Strike Corps” with all our three “Army Reserve” formations presently occupied in FATA, Dir and Swat. Please forgive also our suspicions as to what the many Indian consulates in Afghanistan are doing on our western borders! Ikram Sehgal. The News

    The administration raised the issue of Cold Start last November when India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, visited Washington, Indian and American officials said. Indian officials told the United States that the strategy was not a government or military policy, and that India had no plans to attack Pakistan. Therefore, they added, it should have no place on Mr. Obama’s agenda in India.

    For Mr. Obama, politically wounded by the midterm elections and high unemployment at home, such deals are also important to bolster his argument that the relationship between the United States and India can create American jobs rather than simply siphoning them away.

    For all the talk of shared interests, India still lies at the nexus of America’s greatest foreign policy crisis. Its archrival, Pakistan, is a crucial  American ally in the war in Afghanistan. The United States has struggled to find a way to mediate between them.

    Some administration officials have argued that addressing Cold Start, developed in the aftermath of a failed attempt to mobilize troops in response to an attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistani militants, could help break the logjam that has impeded talks between the countries.

    But India has mostly declined to discuss the topic. “We don’t know what Cold Start is,” said India’s defense secretary, Pradeep Kumar, in an interview on Thursday. “Our prime minister has said that Pakistan has nothing to fear. Pakistan can move its troops from the eastern border.”

    Indian officials and some analysts say Cold Start has taken on a nearly mythical status in the minds of Pakistani leaders, whom they suspect of inflating it as an excuse to avoid engaging militants on their own turf.

    “The Pakistanis will use everything they can to delay or drag out doing a serious reorientation of their military,” said Stephen P. Cohen, an expert on South Asia at the Brookings Institution.

    India’s ponderous strike forces, most of them based in the center of the country, took weeks to reach the border. By then Western diplomats had swooped in.

    The military began devising a plan to respond to future attacks. The response would have to be swift to avoid the traffic jam of international diplomacy, but also carefully calibrated — shallow enough to be punitive and embarrassing, but not an existential threat that would provoke nuclear retaliation.

    But American military officials and diplomats worry that even the existence of the strategy in any form could encourage Pakistan to make rapid improvements in its nuclear arsenal.

    When Pakistani Military officials are asked to justify the huge investment in upgrading that arsenal, some respond that because Pakistan has no conventional means to deter Cold Start, nuclear weapons are its only option.

    Still, many analysts are skeptical that Cold Start could be the key for the Obama administration to promote talks between India and Pakistan, which have been stalled since Pakistani militants attacked Mumbai in 2008. Agencies and NY Times Reports. Lydia Polgreen reported from New Delhi, and Mark Landler from Washington. David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Washington. Obama Is Not Likely to Push India Hard on Pakistan. Rajanish Kakade/Associated Press. A sign in Mumbai on Friday signaled preparations in India for President Obama’s visit. Mumbai is his first stop on Saturday.  By LYDIA POLGREEN and MARK LANDLER. Published: November 5, 2010

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her campaign for the presidency of the United States mentioned “Pakistan’s paranoia” about India’s intentions about Pakistan. Pardon us Ms. Clinton but Bharat has threatened Pakistan will all out war, not once but twice in the past few years. Additionally, it was the Pakhtuns that liberated Azad Kashmir and it is Delhi that occupied Kashmir, Junagarh, Manvadar, Sir Creek and Siachin–not the Pakhtuns (aka Taliban).

    Terrorism across the borders works for Bharat–in China, Sikkim Bhutan, Nepal, Lanka, and Pakistan. RAW is good at hiring and sending mercenaries to murder innocent civilians–as witnessed in Karachi last week.

    Source: http://www.islamabadglobe.com/?p=30883

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    2 comments

    1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Swat Crisis, QUTAIBA انقلابی. QUTAIBA انقلابی said: Killing India’s Hidden Cold Start Strategy: http://t.co/dpGYiuP #PAKISTAN #INDIA #CHINA #USA #ARMY #WARFARE #ASIA #PPP #PKTP #MQM #KARACHI […]


    2. Rehman Malik issues statement that there is no Govt. policy to support terrorism. But this is only half the truth. The Pakistani Army has an well established policy and infrastructure of terror.

      The Pakistanis know that India will retaliate in a massive scale, in response to Pakistani Army’s provocations…. but they are speculating about when and how.

      Whether or not there is an Indian cold start strategy, one thing is sure, Pakistan will receive the blow back, it is only a matter of time.



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