Sailab ke tabahkarian ore hamari Qoumi Zimadari(Damages of flood in Pakistan and our responsibilities )

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sailab ke tabahkarian ore hamari Qoumi Zimadari
Tariq Ismail Sagar

Damages of flood in Pakistan and our responsibilities

4th GW: fourth generation warfare

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© 2008 BrassTacks. All rights reserved.
This document is protected by copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the written permission of BrassTacks.
The information in this document is furnished for informational use only. Great care has been taken to maintain the accuracy of the information contained in this document. However, neither BrassTacks nor the authors can be held responsible for errors or for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained herein.

By Shahzad Masood Roomi
4th GW, Indian Cold Start &
Future Pak-India
© 2008 BrassTacks. All Rights Reserved

This document is protected by copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the written permission of BrassTacks.

The information in this document is furnished for informational use only. Great care has been taken to maintain the accuracy of the information contained in this document. However, neither BrassTacks nor the authors can be held responsible for errors or for any consequences arising from the use of the information contained herein.

4th GW, Indian Cold Start & Future Pak-India Conflict

Pakistan and India are in constant state of war against each other since the last 63 years and vying at various levels due to incomplete and unjust division of subcontinent's North Western region of Jammu and Kashmir. This clash between two nuclear arch rivals is visible also at global level in political and diplomatic spheres and on four occasions, since 1947, world has witnessed the physical incarnation of this prolonged duel. Major wars erupted over Kashmir in 1948 and 1965. Both times it was the dispute over Indian military and political occupation of that Muslim majority State that turned into complete wars later on. In 1971, India supported insurgencies and political chaos in East Pakistan to make a physical incursion across the international borders to attack and then dismember Eastern wing of the country. In 1986, both countries came close to a war again. In 1999, both countries bitterly fought over hills of Kargil almost leading to a high intensity nuclear war. In 2002, another major standoff involving over a million armed troops was witnessed by the world, almost to the brink of a regional holocaust. In 2008, after the Mumbai attacks, both countries again came dangerously close to another war. Countless border clashes over the Line of Control in Kashmir and across the working boundary took place and now have become a routine. Anyone of these can lead to a full scale war between two nuclear armed countries.

Though there is a military ceasefire right now but this constant state of confrontation is pulsating, on all other axes –political, economic and diplomatic –and has always been ruthless, sinister and noxious. For Pakistan, it is a matter of survival with its sovereignty preserved. For India, it's part of her long term hegemonic designs in the region. The fact of the matter is that both countries cannot co-exist, despite all the public relations façade thrown by politicians, diplomats and media unless all the outstanding issues get resolved in a just manner. All others who do not accept this harsh truth are devoid of historical and military reality.

1998 holds special significance in national defense as it was during this year that Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state and got ultimate deterrence denying its old adversary any political or military contrive like one Pakistan faced in 1971, which culminated in secession of East Pakistan. Indians were forced to change their operational strategy after Pakistan became a nuclear weapon state. Despite adopting changes at strategic level the long term objectives and the national security policy of India remained the same vis-à-vis Pakistan.

After getting humiliated by a surprise military maneuver of Pakistan army, in 1999, during Kargil conflict, India launched an obscenely ominous diplomatic and media offensive using 'cross border terrorism in Indian Kashmir' as an excuse to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. Before Pakistan could have developed any adequate diplomatic response to this Indian political onslaught, 9/11 occurred, that was a game changer. Although many other

strategic, political and economic dynamics were also involved, one of the issues of convergence of mutual interests was the fear monster of “Islamic Terrorism” that made India and the US strategic partners in the 21st century.

India took full advantage of post 9/11 developments to up the ante further in its drive against Pakistan and its nuclear program. The whole geo-political and geo-strategic situation dramatically turned against Pakistan. Blame also rest with Islamabad for not responding quickly and effectively to the changed paradigms. Indians found their new bastion in Afghanistan, behind Pakistan's back, from where they launched multiple rear area furtive operations in Pakistan. Not only that this low intensity war and support to insurgencies caused society and system failures in Pakistan, it also created a global environment to justify declaring Pakistan a failed State, not worthy of having nuclear weapons.

Orchestrating terrorism against Pakistan from Afghanistan is the most audacious move by the Indians. Exploiting the deviant, violent and sinister ideology of Takfir, Indians as well as their American and Israelis allies, infiltrated Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Uzbek and Arab militants within Pakistani tribal areas to launch the most ruthless and bloody terrorist campaigns in recent history. This menace has almost torn apart the social fabric of the society. An insurgency that started in FATA was made to spread all over the country swiftly and systematically. Suicide bombings, ambushes, target killings and bomb blasts are routine in all major urban centers across the nation. Thousands of Pakistani civilian and security forces personnel have lost their lives in this ruthless and relentless wave of terrorism unleashed by TTP, the biggest Indian asset in Pakistan.

Pakistan armed forces are fighting against this menace since last 5 years. War is still on but for the first time Pakistan army is managing to get the upper hand in this conflict after a long and bloody slog. But Pakistan army, ISI and the nation have paid a heavy price for these gains after taking severe hits by an ostensibly hidden but ruthless and cunning enemy. After 1971, when Indians had successfully orchestrated the ruthless Mukti Bahini terrorist gangs in East Pakistan, RAW again managed to pull off another of their bloody stunts by creating and launching the TTP through US occupied Afghanistan. Pakistan has paid a high price of US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan since 2001.

Another incredible aspect of this Indian launched 4th generation war against Pakistan is its timing. Terrorism and insurgencies started in Pakistan in 2004-05 and it was no coincidence that India introduced its future military doctrine to attack and “Punish” Pakistan, for its “support to terrorism in India”, during the same year. This military doctrine is the second part of the Grand Indian policy, which itself is an articulation of a two prong strategy, against Pakistan;

1. To denuclearize Pakistan after getting it declared a failed and a terrorist state. For this objective Indians perpetuated an extremely complex and excruciatingly difficult to fight 4th generation war against Pakistan. Purpose of this war is to soften and then implode Pakistan internally by drawing Pakistani armed forces into high intensity conflicts within its own borders, in an asymmetrical and ruthless unconventional war against local and foreign insurgents. This in turn would create mass panic, confusion, economic collapse and national disintegration leading up to a collusive system and governance failure. This would also draw and engage Pakistani forces on the western theatre, drawing them away from Eastern front against India, thus thinning Pakistani defenses. The supporting diplomatic offensives and media ops are to be launched simultaneously to build a global case to denuclearize Pakistan.

2. The Second prong of Indian strategy envisions launching pre-emptive and surprise physical assaults on Pakistan on multiple fronts under the pretext of attacking militant hideouts sited on Pakistani soil. Indian military has engineered a new military doctrine to execute this surprise invasion known as the “Cold Start”.

What is happening in Pakistan today is the execution of the first phase of Indian grand strategy against Pakistan. Indian mission became possible only due to US presence in Afghanistan and due to a failed foreign policy adopted by Islamabad after 9/11. Indians had already launched this war during the Musharraf era but the real ferocity and ruthlessness was unleashed after CIA installed “democracy” was put in place in Pakistan in Early 2008.

The entire pressure and responsibility to respond and to neutralize this immediate severe threat fell on Pakistani armed forces and intelligence setup which are increasingly encumbered in a war where real enemy (India) is hidden in its sanctuaries in Afghanistan behind the religious façade of TTP. This Indian proxy terrorist group is an extension of Indian army amid Pakistani society, just as Tamil tigers were in Sri Lanka.

Pakistan is facing following threats in this asymmetric 4th generation warfare;

Insurgencies in North and North Western provinces. These are supported by Indian RAW from Afghanistan. TTP in FATA and BLA in Baluchistan are creating mayhem and chaos by unleashing terrorism and anarchy. Both insurgencies are completely heterogeneous in tactics and pose diverse challenges for the security forces.

An extreme sense of insecurity is prevailing in masses due to target killings, suicide bombings, sectarian violence and ethno-linguistic sadism in all major cities. Increasing frequency of these incidents depicts a very bleak picture of national security profile. Judicial system has totally collapsed to respond to these threats.

This frenzied situation presented foreign secret services like CIA, MI6 and RAW and private mercenaries like Blackwater (Xe Worldwide) with an opportunity to establish their independent footprints in Pakistan to carry out kidnappings, assassinations and sabotage operations as well as eavesdropping and spying. The entire Drone operations and subsequent assassinations are being conducted by CIA and their mercenary contractors with impunity.

Economic intimidation of Pakistan and to destroy Pakistan's food supply chain, through water aggression is relatively new but most ruthless move in this hushed war by India. Violating Indus Water Treaty, India built multiple dams on Pakistani rivers in Kashmir region. Due to these illegal dams, India can block Pakistani waters or release excessive waters into Pakistani rivers to cause destruction through artificially created floods.

Media ops and propaganda warfare have been launched using disinformation, twisted analysis and planted intelligence reports about Pakistan and its possible extinction in the near future. Purpose of this propaganda war is to create a sense of hopelessness in Pakistani masses especially in Pakistani youth, to create a divide between the citizens and the armed forces and to dilute the ideology of Pakistan. Indian movies, TV plays and Hindu culture and language is being aggressively promoted through injection of billions of rupees into Pakistani media, press and infotainment market.

Corrupt and incompetent government in Islamabad accelerated economic meltdown of Pakistan through staggering corruption. National financial policies and institutes have been handed over to IMF and World Bank and by taking loans on compromisingly unforgiving conditions. Pakistan lost its control over vital economic policies after entering into IMF program. To add insult to injury, the government is going to start talks with IMF for new loan after floods. This new loan obviously will not come without strings attached.

On diplomatic plain, India is desperate to isolate Pakistan on regional and global level. While US military wants to keep Pakistani armed forces as allies to support their war in Afghanistan, Indians are in a hurry and want an irate collision between Pakistan and US/NATO. Indian strategy is to fight Pakistan to the last American and Indians are extremely offended when US is forced to supply weapons or money to Pakistan in its desperate bid to keep a very angry and disturbed Pakistan on its side. The latest Block 52 F-16 sale to Pakistan has ruffled many feathers in Delhi. After 9/11, Indians were desperate to convince Americans that the real threat is from Pakistan and not Afghanistan and even offered bases on Indian soil to US to attack Pakistan. That cunning Indian policy of using Americans to fight their war remains alive and active to this day. Indian RAW perpetrated attacks on US consulates using TTP, in Peshawar, to put blame on Pakistan based “Islamic terrorists”.

Apart from politically motivated religious, secular and sectarian terrorism, existing fault lines in the country's disintegrating political system, like ethno-linguistic politics, are serving as catalyzing agents for the enemy cause. Ethnicity and linguistic divide were re-stamped on Pakistani society after 2008 elections which gave ANP and MQM a new lease of political life. ANP has officially created ethnic rift in NWFP by controversially renaming the province, thus isolating and provoking the Hazara community. BLA activists are doing ethnic cleansing of non-Baluch settlers in Baluchistan, forcing an exodus from the province of these settlers. ANP, MQM and BLA are stoking multiple ethnic fires in at least 3 provinces of the country.

These insurgencies and the various axes of 4GW have been launched to soften up Pakistan by multiple hostile powers. While the Americans and the Israelis, for now, are only seriously interested in denuclearizing Pakistan to remove all immediate threats of an “Islamic Bomb” or other Muslim countries taking the technology from Islamabad, Indians want to go further to annihilate Pakistan as well in their dream of creating “Greater India” or “Akhand Bharat”. But Indians cannot do it alone nor can it annihilate a nuclear armed Pakistan. On their part, US and Israel cannot afford to let Pakistan keep its weapons, hence the convergence of all these powers critical interests against Pakistan's strategic weapons program. Most of the terrorism in Pakistan is remotely controlled by these hostile entities from Afghanistan. Simultaneously, the media of these nations' remains aggressive in creating this hype that Pakistan's strategic nuclear weapons are not safe and are about to fall into the hands of the terrorists, hence must be “secured” by international community.

Security forces have completed military phase of counter insurgency operations in Swat but remain bogged in Western sectors in tribal areas despite making major gains. The sanctuaries of the terrorists remain alive in Afghanistan with a constant flow of men, weapons and explosives into Pakistan. Under pressure from Pakistan army, militants continue to melt back into Afghan wilderness under RAW/CIA's protection, out of the range of Pakistani firepower. This is exactly why India launched these insurgencies in the first place; to draw and bog Pakistan army in restive regions in the West, far from the Eastern borders where India is busy in massive military buildup under new Cold Start doctrine. The PPP and their allies remain naively oblivious to these grave risks to national security. Never before, national politics haunted Pakistan's security in this manner.

The Indian plan is to catch Pakistan off guard by launching multiple incursions on Eastern border at a time when Pakistan would be too weak to defend its frontiers against any physical assault due to internal conflicts and insurgencies, chaos, mismanagement and total collapse of governance.

4th generation warfare and its various shreds have been discussed extensively in previous issues of Brasstacks monthly security review. This report examines the second phase of Grand Indian strategy i.e. the Cold Start (CS) doctrine. First phase of this war is already in advanced stages through 4GW. Here, we would examine how the future Pak-India direct high intensity conflict would look like under the CS doctrine.

Rationale & Birth of Cold Start

In early 1980's Indian army adopted “Sundarji Doctrine” that remained principle military doctrine for India against Pakistan in the following two decades. It was devised by former Indian army chief, General Krishnaswamy Sundarji. This doctrine divided Indian army units into two groups of army corps each with its own dedicated role.

Holding Corps: This group of corps is meant to be deployed closer to border with a primary task of 'hold the line'. In other words, holding the advancement of any invading army was the primary role of these corps.

Strike Corps: Primary task of strike corps is to attack Pakistan. India currently has 3 strike corps on the border to launch military offensive against Pakistan simultaneously in 3 different sectors. To enhance the efficacy of the strike corps, doctrine emphasized heavily on incorporating speed, technology and firepower.
Right now, Indian army order of battle is constituted by 7 holding and 3 strike corps, all deployed along Pakistan-India border.

India tested this doctrine in subcontinent's biggest combined armour, mechanized, artillery and air power war game undertaken in February-March 1986 during 'Operation Brasstacks'. These war games took place next to Pakistani border and triggered a similar buildup by Pakistan army on the other side of the border. Another war was looming around in the subcontinent. Tension was released through diplomatic channels and an almost inevitable conflict was circumvented.

Sundarji Doctrine was conceived at a time when Pakistan was a non-nuclear state and Pakistan army was relying on conventional warfare. After becoming a nuclear weapon state in 1998, Pakistan was in a position to challenge this Indian military doctrine by denying Indian strike corps to strike inside Pakistan due to its ultimate deterrence in the form of nuclear arsenal. The fact was exhibited during Operation Parakram (2001-02) when Pakistani nuclear weapons and strategic ambiguity about their usage thwarted Indian designs.

Serious flaws of Sundarji doctrine were exposed during this Indian military buildup in 2001-2002, which was the largest military mobilization against Pakistan since 1971;

Serious flaws of Sundarji doctrine were exposed during this Indian military buildup in 2001-2002, which was the largest military mobilization against Pakistan since 1971.

1. Slow mobilization of large armour and mechanized divisions of Indian army. It took 3 weeks for Indian armour divisions to converge on advance positions along Pakistan-India border.

2. Pakistani military intelligence detected massive Indian military mobilization early and this invaluable piece of intelligence allowed Pakistan army to exercise its own deployment plans to deter Indian advances along the Eastern border. Pakistan army quickly established a dual line of defense around Lahore within couple of weeks after receiving intelligence about Indian military mobilization on the other side of the border. Indian strike corps had lost element of strategic surprise by then. It was perhaps the biggest surprise for Indians during ten month long stand-off. This readiness and operational preparedness of Pakistan army prevented any Indian adventure.

Indian SAM system during operation Parakaram 2002
3. Diplomatic failure due to US/NATO's dependence on Pakistan for its WoT (War on Terror) in Afghanistan. US was desperate to diffuse the situation as it could have destroyed the US war in Afghanistan in its early stages if Pakistan had denied its cooperation with US in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan back in 2002.

4. Indian political leadership failed to determine any strategic objective of this endeavor. It was a total military drill and political leadership in New Delhi was not onboard. Although some hardliners in Delhi termed Operation Parakram as a success in Indian coercive diplomacy but it was the international intervention that defused the tension. Pakistan army or the government never bowed before Indian aggressive stance during the whole episode. Situation was diffused without any strategic or even tactical gains by the Indians despite such massive deployment for so long.

Indian military top brass faced utter embarrassment and severe criticism inside India by various Indian political and military commentators and analysts on launching an ill-envisioned military plan. Former Indian army chief, Shankar Roay Chudhary termed it as a “pointless gesture” while journalist Praveen Swami called the operation Parakram as “arguably the most ill-conceived maneuver in Indian military history”.

Numerical disparity in armed forces diminished as Pakistan maintained its traditional strategic ambiguity about deployment of its nuclear arsenal. Failure of Operation Parakram brought Sundarji doctrine to an end as well and Indian army desperately started to look for a more robust and practical conventional military doctrine, in a nuclear overhang, to fight a high intensity war with Pakistan.

The shift in strategic thinking of Indian leadership after Pakistan becoming a nuclear state also necessitated a new military doctrine that could deliver under complete NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) overhang. India realized fully the inability of its forces to dismember Pakistan by a physical attack. India readjusted her strategy to denuclearize Pakistan first by getting it declared a “terrorist and failed state” in comity of nations. To meet this prerequisite of Indian policy, India launched and supported multiple insurgencies and terrorism in Pakistan. For the final phase, new Indian military doctrine was to be drafted as such, which Indian army could use under the pretext of attacking “terrorist training camps” inside Pakistan and this is exactly what Cold Start is all about.
Coupled with coldblooded and ruthless ongoing 4th generation war initiated against Pakistan, Cold Start doctrine poses a considerable threat to Pakistan's national security in mid to long run. Any false flag terror attack in India would be used as an excuse to execute Cold Start. It would be a surprise and “pre-emptive' attack without any warning or declaration of war to decapitate Pakistan's military and political leadership.

Cold Start: Objectives, Components and Tactics
Adoption of Cold Start doctrine, in 2004, dictated major structural changes in Indian military. Basic idea of Cold Start revolves around a short and intense war, with focus on agility, surprise and swift maneuvering of, newly introduced, division sized Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) to inflict maximum damage to Pakistani military infrastructure and forces in shortest possible time before world community could intervene.

A whole new army command by the name of 'South Western Command' was formed in 2005 under Cold Start. This command has had a pivot corps and a strike corps assigned to it (X Pivot Corps, I Corps) with area of responsibility including Punjab and Rajasthan. Previously these areas were covered by Western command which now covers region between Pathankot and Jammu. Headquarter is located at Jaipur and main purpose was to bolster strike capabilities of Indian army in the Southern sectors. This command was established to work in conjunction with Udhampur-based Northern Command and Chandimandir-based Western Command.

India currently has 3 strike corps (I Corps, II Corps and XXI Corps). These would be transformed into 8 IBGs under Cold Start doctrine giving Indian army far more flexibility to launch multiple offensives at once on possible 8 different fronts. Each IBG would consist of mechanized infantry, artillery and armour units. Each battle group would have close air support by Indian air force to provide massive firepower against reinforced defensive deployments of Pakistani army. Apart from this, Indian army gunships will provide cover to advancing IBGs. To achieve this capability, Indian air force is inducting multiple weapon systems in its inventory. To enhance its operational effectiveness, Indian military has introduced a new joint ops paradigm in all its arms; Army, Air Force and Navy.

Indian T-90 Tank

Every IBG would have its own mission objectives in a theatre of war and would continue its operations until its military objectives were achieved. This will give battle group commanders the autonomy to take and implement decentralized decisions on their own without waiting for a word from the top brass sitting deep inside India far from battle fields. Valuable time shall be saved during fast changing dynamics of a particular battle ground. In order to prevent Pakistan from deploying its nuclear weapons in retaliation, IBGs would not engage civilian population in large urban centers. This would keep a moral pressure on Pakistan to keep fighting a conventional war despite having non-conventional capability. At least this is what Indians are hoping!

Basic task of IBGs, with Russian T-90 and T-72M1 tanks at their core, would be to make shallow territorial gains by invading 50-80 km deep inside Pakistan, mainly by out flanking heavily guarded cities like Lahore and Sialkot.

Indian T-72M1 Tanks will form the core of IBGs

During the WWII, French command and control centers were compromised by German blitzkrieg in 1940 when German Panzer tank units penetrated swiftly deep into French territory along multiple lines of advances, bypassing defenses and strong points. Despite presence of large number of French troops in the area, higher military leadership was paralyzed by this cunning German military maneuver. Consequently, France fell to Germans in a matter of weeks. German generals like Rommel and Guderian made their name in the history due to these attacks with armoured divisions across the Europe.

Indian army used similar tactics after facing stiff resistance from Pakistan army in some sectors during 1971 Pak-India war in East Pakistan. Idea of Cold Start revolves around similar tactics. This maneuver warfare of Indian military would not only enable it to capture large areas of land but would put Pakistan's military command and control infrastructure in similar catastrophic situation which French faced, during WWII, by German blitzkrieg operations.

This incursion will have strong air support by IAF (Indian Air Force). Apart from assisting IBGs, IAF would carry out attacks on Pakistan army ground installations, command and control infrastructure and formation on ground to further accelerate the advances of IBGs. Indian air force is inducting all the modern war planes, weapons, missiles, sensors and communications suits. IAF has a clear advantage over its Pakistani counterpart and it is pursuing an aggressive plan to induct high tech weapon systems to have a decisive qualitative and numerical edge over PAF.

Another possibility is second wave of ground assaults by some of the India's holding corps. These have already been declared as “Pivot corps” in Cold Start doctrine with reinforcement in form of additional armour and artillery units to engage into offensive operations at least in some sectors if not in all.

According to Indian military planners, these simultaneous joint forces attacks would deliver a fatal blow to military cohesion of Pakistan army and under immense pressure it would make some gross tactical mistakes offering further advantage to invading Indian IBGs.

M-777Light Weight Towed Howitzer artillery gun

For such a fast military maneuver it was essential to address some key shortcomings in Indian military;
1. Slowness of armour unit and mechanized infantry.
2. Failure in concealing the mobilization of forces for a rapidly aggressive and surprise strike across the border.
3. Lack of situational awareness, information and intelligence sharing capabilities using secure means.
To overcome these challenges, Indian military is undertaking major structural and operational changes by moving its armour divisions and mechanized infantry units closer to border on permanent basis. Major purpose of this shift of divisions closer to border is to gain element of surprise and to cut short deployment time of these divisions. This would allow IBG’s to launch across-the-line operations whenever orders are received while Pivot corps would start their deployment afterwards to deter any possible retaliation from Pakistan. On the other hand, large number of IBGs and diverse nature of their objectives in each theatre would make the job of Pakistan's military intelligence a lot more cumbersome as ultimate objective of each IBG, crossing into Pakistan, would be less obvious.

Apart from this, Indian military is strengthening its arms (army, air force, navy) in an ambitious modernization drive. Current and future military procurement plans of Indian forces must be suffice to explain the Indian preparation for a short and intense war. Two most noticeable aspects of these procurement plans is how India is arming its forces with offensive military hardware and induction of latest C4I2 (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence and Information) systems for modernization of Indian command and control infrastructure.

India surged its military budget by a staggering 21% in 2009 alone. India is eyeing to spend $100 Billion till 2022 on weapon procurement alone. Current procurement plan includes following systems for all three arms of Indian military.


145 M-777 Light Weight Towed Howitzer artillery guns
197 new helicopters
Procurement of T-90 Russian main battle tanks. Indian army eying 1000 such tanks till 2020.
Modification of road and rail networks in border areas in Western and Eastern regions bordering Pakistan and China (i.e. Jammu & Kashmir).

Air Force

Multi billion dollars Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program to induct 126 state of the art 4th generation fighter jets. Vendors from US, Russia, Sweden, Britain and France are competing for the project.
Procurement of Phalcon AWACS platform from Israel.
5th generation stealth fighter bomber (T-50) joint venture with Russia.
Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); Extensive foreign help from US, France and Israel.
Joint Venture with Israel for Air Defense system
Israeli made Phalcon AWACS system for Indian Air Force
US built C-130J and C-17 transport planes to enhance mobility.

Ambitious nuclear submarine project to build 15 SSBNs till 2020. First one is already inducted.

Acquisition of Russian aircraft carrier and retrofitted with latest systems. This will able to house 30 fixed wing aircraft. This will boost Indian Navy’s aerial assault capability to considerable level.

Russian Aircraft carrier would join Indian Navy after going through retrofit process.

Procurement of 6 Scorpene class conventional submarines from France.
A Follow up order of 7 subs with ability to launch BrahMos cruise missile.
Leasing of Ackula class nuclear submarines from Russia.
Procurement of three Russian Krivak IV class frigates
Purchase of Mig-29K fighters for Indian navy.

Indian Navy would get MIG-29Ks as well

P-8I Poseidon planes from US for naval reconnaissance and long range maritime patrol.

Apart from all these formidable platforms and systems, US offers of state of the art F-18 E/F fighter jets, Apache gunship helicopters, H-2D Hawkeye AWACS systems are also on the table for India to take. Many agreements for upgrading existing systems and joint ventures with other countries in areas like training, exercises and military hardware manufacturing are underway.

Synergized joint ops by all the forces demand a reliable and secure means of communication and information sharing in real time. Indian military is enhancing its EW (Electronic Warfare), ECM (Electronic Counter Measures), ECCM (Electronic Counter Counter Measures) capabilities. Israel and US are helping India build these capabilities. Israeli Green Pine radars and Phalcon AWACS along with US P-8I Poseidon planes would take Indian C4I2 (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence and Information) capabilities to a new level.

The successful employment in war games of networked sensor systems (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, reconnaissance satellites, and advanced radar) and sophisticated communications suites by combat units and their headquarters is evidence of potential network-centric warfare capability.

Clearly, Indians are working to overcome short- comings in their forces to implement Cold Start. Changed strategic and political situation has enabled India to procure all kinds of state of the art combat systems from world over but procuring these weapon systems is not the only area, critical for successful execution of Cold Start, where Indians are working aggressively.

Cold Start: Refining and Testing

There are 3 critical areas of Cold Start to precisely estimate the level of operational preparedness Indian army has achieved to execute it;
1. The demonstration of the operational capabilities required to execute the Cold Start doctrine.
2. The implementation of the requisite organizational changes.
3. The development of the resources and infrastructure required to support the envisioned military operations.

As far as first element of operational preparedness is concerned it is evident that the Indian army is moving towards achieving its required level of operational capabilities in army and air force to undertake joint operations envisaged in Cold Start. Military exercises conducted by Indian forces, to test Cold Start, prove that Indian army is enhancing its capabilities in three main areas. It is critical to comprehend and preempt Indian plans.

1. Integrating and synchronizing the operations of Indian army and Indian air force. Joint operations are a key to implementing the doctrine because IBGs would rely heavily on close air support and firepower provided by IAF.
2. Offensive action by pivot corps, short mobilization offensives, and independent operations by multiple units.
3. Enhancing network-centric warfare capability of geographically dispersed forces via advanced communications tools. It is imperative not only for amplifying the speed of decision making and improving the synchronization among dispersed forces but also for enhanced situational awareness and intelligence sharing.

India has conducted 5 major military war games since 2004, just to test and refine its Cold Start strategy. A brief look at these exercises and their objectives would suffice to weigh the preparations of Indian army.

Divya Astra(Divine Weapon, 2004): This war game was conducted in March 2004 at Mahajan Firing Range in Rajasthan, 70 kilometers from the international border. The purpose of this exercise was to test the ability of the Indian Army's various combat arms to deliver integrated firepower in conjunction with the air force. This was a 90 minute tactical battle scenario which was designed to test the capability to penetrate fortified defenses by mechanized attack supported by artillery and ground support aircraft.
Vajra Shakti (Thunder Power, 2005): Took place in May 2005 some 80 kilometers away from Pakistani borders on the plains of Jalandhar, Indian Punjab. It was a ten-day long exercise with 25,000 Indian troops participating. Troops belonged to Panther Infantry Division and the Flaming Arrow Armoured Brigade of the XI Corps (Vajra Corps), one of the army's pivot corps. This was first demonstration of previously defense-oriented holding corps after their conversion into Pivot corps with new responsibilities of limited offensive attack.
Desert Strike(2005): These war games took place in November 2005 in Rajasthan's Thar desert and continued for fourteen days. Major objective of these war games was to enhance joint operation capabilities of Indian army armour divisions and air force strike squadrons. A principal aim was to examine the Indian military's ability to defeat an enemy by causing psychological collapse through the use of preemption, dislocation and disruption. After Operation Brasstacks this was the largest military games conducted by Indian army. The exercise was inspired by US Operation Desert Storm in 1991 in Iraq.

Indian tanks during Desert Strike 2005 military exercise

Sanghe Shakti(Joint Power, 2006): This military drill conducted in May 2006 was corps level exercise to test Cold Start. It was bigger than all the previous exercises. More than 40,000 troops from 1st Armoured Division, 14th RAPID Division, and 22nd Infantry Division of the Ambala-based II Strike Corps participated. Exercises took place 100 kilometers away from Pakistani border in Indian Punjab. II Strike Corps is main strike corps of Indian army and constitutes 50% of Indian military firepower. This is the corps which would be tasked for a thrust into Pakistan through Cholistan area.

Ashwamedh( April 2007): Cold Start doctrine was again tested for the fifth time in April 2007 in Rajasthan's Thar desert. Once again Indian strike corps (I Strike Corp) took part in the exercise with its 25,000 troops along with infantry fighting vehicles, main battle tanks, heavy artillery, and gunship helicopters. It was described as test of the country's new “pro-active war strategy.” The exercise was designed specifically to test how Indian strike units will enhance their combat power utilizing advanced sensor networked with weapons on ground in a multi prong attack.

It is interesting to note that all these exercises were conducted in a complete NBC simulated environment. Night-fighting capabilities were intensively tested in Vajra Shakti, Sanghe Shakti and Ashwamedh exercises. Though visible shortcomings, in area of joint operations, were observed at various levels in Indian troops while going through various drills during these exercises but still these exercises prove beyond any doubt that Indian armed forces are preparing for a joint, integrated, short and intense war against Pakistan. Most worrying aspect of these Indian preparations, from Pakistani perspective, is the utilization of satellite imagery and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in these exercises. Currently, India is relying on Russian GPS system but India has plans to build a similar system as well.

Although the limited war strategy has moved beyond theoretical phase in professional military circles but, based on the available evidence, it appears that Cold Start remains within the experimental stage of development. Widespread organizational changes, like converting strike corps into IBGs and moving armour divisions closer to borders, required for full implementation has not taken place yet and it will take a considerable time before Indian army can reach there.
Indian military is enhancing its ground infrastructure as well to execute Cold Start. New road network and communications links are being established in border regions. This support infrastructure would be required not just to house the IBGs near border area but a logistical mean in time of conflict. IBGs would be stationed alongwith existing units from the pivot corps in their area of operations. Most likely location of these new facilities would be located along a line stretching from Barmer-Jaisalmer-Bikaner-Suratgarh.

Cold Start: The Geo-strategic Angle

India's Cold Start would be highly vulnerable as long as Pakistan's nuclear strike capability is preserved. This capability is a threat not only for Indian Cold Start but for US interests and Israeli expansion as well. US and Indian interests' vis-à-vis Pakistan converged on denuclearization of Pakistan. As long as US is in the region and requires Pakistan's help, it wants a stable Pakistan but not with nuclear armament capability. US needs an obedient, co-operating and “delivering” Pakistan for which it is necessary to make it dependent on US/NATO for its very existence. To achieve this it is imperative to render Pakistan into a non-nuclear state through various international treaties and agreements. Indians are desperately waiting for this moment so that they can execute Cold Start with full fury.

Second vortex of Indo-US strategic partnership is to strategize the plans to impede China's economic and military boom in which Pakistan can play a major role by providing a trade corridor to China through its ports. China can also use these ports for power projection by docking its naval ships in the area. This will enable China to keep an eye on all major trade routes in Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Indo-US nexus is anxiously wanting to dent Pakistan's strategic ties with China as well. RAW and CIA are also working jointly to harm Pak-China relations by creating religious unrest in Chinese Xinjiang province and targeting Chinese working in Pakistan.

Indians want to execute Cold Start with a strategically isolated Pakistan with no military and economic aid from any regional power at least in the critical first few days. Strategically, Pak-China military partnership is a major hurdle in the execution of Indian Cold Start. Despite all the bravado of “two front war” against Pakistan and China by former Indian army chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor, Indian military would find it extremely ambitious, even suicidal, to take on Pakistan and China simultaneously.

American occupied Afghanistan has become a strategic black hole for Pakistan's national security. Post 9/11 policies adopted by previous regime in Islamabad are haunting Pakistan badly to this date and unfortunately it would remain so unless Pakistan revised its foreign policy especially towards US presence in Afghanistan. Today, all internal security challenges of Pakistan stem from Afghanistan and it would remain a direct threat for Pakistan as long as US/NATO forces remain in occupation of that land and Indians are given a free hand through their consulates to wage their 4GW against Pakistan.

Cold Start: The Geo-political Angle

Pakistan is a target of isolation campaign at regional level. Pakistan and China have always supported each other at global level on all critical issues like Kashmir and Taiwan. This was only during this PPP regime when Pakistani embassy in Beijing was without an ambassador to China for months. On the other hand Indians were fast establishing economic and military ties with China during the same time. India and China remained troubled neighbors for decades but Pakistani foreign office never succeeded to exploit this situation to its advantage. If it was not for Pakistan's military leadership, current government would have already lost China as a strategic friend.

Pak-Iran ties were a source of strength for Pakistan in previous showdowns between Pakistan and India. Sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shia in Pakistan and Iran remains critical to damaging Pak-Iran relations. US also do not want any warm relations between Pakistan and Iran. All Indian and US assets including TTP and Jundullah are now aggressively busy in waging sectarian wars in Pakistan and Iran. All these arrangements actually are prequel of Cold Start episode.

Apart from trying to isolate Pakistan in the region, Indians are pressing hard for securing a permanent seat in UN Security Council to get a decisive political edge over Pakistan and China. Most unfortunate aspect of this Indian ambition is that it has found Islamabad as an ally. This is an unimaginable scenario that the Pakistani government is supporting India for a permanent seat in UN Security Council. These decisions are going to compromise national security and political interests of the country. By getting a permanent seat in the UN, India would be in a position to veto every resolution forwarded by Pakistan on issues like Kashmir.
Summarizing it all, Indian Cold Start would remain just an idea unless following geo-strategic and geo political factors change in Indian favor;

1. Pak – China military relations both in conventional and unconventional domains. China is reliable and the biggest conventional weapon supplier for Pakistan.
2. Pak – Iran military and strategic ties. Iran can supply Pakistan with critical energy resources in times of war. India, on the other hand, has no such neighbor. This is why Pak-Iran relations are such a critical imperative from Pakistan national security perspective.
3. US dependence on Pakistan for US/NATO supply lines. Status quo between Pakistan and India, on all issues, is the best suited position for US for its operations in Afghanistan.

4. Pakistan's close military ties with Gulf States and Indian dependence on these for her energy needs. India will have to rely on its strategic fuel reserves in a war with Pakistan. This is a big geographic drawback for India which Pakistan would exploit during war by blocking Indian fuel supplies from Gulf.
5. Inability of Indian forces to dismember / capture Pakistan in a conventional conflict.
6. Regional instability, which would haunt India more after a Pak-India conflict in future. Local insurgencies in India would get out of control completely creating a nightmarish security scenario for New Delhi.

Cold Start: Execution

Where would Cold Start be executed? This is the issue of critical interest for Pakistani war planners. Though nothing can be said with certainty at this stage, regional topography would play a decisive role in formation of Indian IBGs and their operations. Pakistan's Eastern border stretches from glacier of Siachen in North to quicksands of Rann of Kutch in South. This 2600km long border has every kind of territory; mountain ranges, plains, deserts and quicksand areas. Southern region mainly consists of Thar Desert and vast muddy plains of Rann of Kutch and this terrain is not conducive for armour or mechanized divisions but Thar Desert region is ideal for maneuver warfare. This is precisely why both the countries are preparing for a conflict in this area as well. Each country's army would desperately try to outflank the other. Due to its very limited depth (average 300 miles), Pakistan is most vulnerable to a flanking attack, particularly in Thar and Cholistan areas.

So, it would be prudent to assume that major thrust of Indian incursion would be in the North, mainly Punjab and Upper Sindh. Cutting off Karachi by destroying or capturing National Highway, by invading Ghotki and Sukkur districts, and breaking into interior Sindh remains a lucrative target for the Indians.

Indian initial aim would be to launch an attack using its 3 to 5 IBGs. Most probable objective areas would be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor and (2) Reti- Rahim yar Khan-Kashmor complex, also known as soft belly of Pakistan.

Pakistan army would face a two-prong attack in Ravi-Chenab axis with one IBG rolling along Jammu-Sailkot-Daska axis and another one across Ravi (Narowal area) to link up with the first one. In second theatre, major thrust of Indian incursion will be faced by Bahawalpur based XXXI corps of Pakistan army. Indians might try to expand this theatre towards further North, by one or two IBGs, to engage Multan based strike corps (II Corps) in a surprise preemptive attack inside Pakistani border. Massive use of Indian air force would also be a part of this action as there is a high concentration of Indian forward air force bases across the border.

IBG invasions in Ravi-Satluj corridor will face a stiff resistance as both Lahore and Kasur are very important cities. Pakistan army has massive concentration
in this area. IBGs cannot engage themselves in long battles of attrition as it will kill the blitzkrieg characteristics of speed and surprise.

Hypothetical map of expected Indian IBGs invasion into Pakistan

Massive diplomatic and media ops would be launched simultaneously to engage international community to prevent Pakistan from launching a nuclear attack on India. These media ops would be directed to paint Pakistan as a failed state in combating terrorism rather Pakistan would be showcased as a terrorist harboring state to build on the legitimacy of Indian incursion in Pakistan. Indian media has demonstrated its anti-Pakistan propaganda warfare capabilities during Kargil war and Mumbai crises. On the other hand, Pakistani media is yet to learn the first word about protecting national interests in this era of ruthless media warfare. Instead of giving message of hope and dignity while nation and armed forces are fighting a ruthless war, Pakistani media just created disappointment, despondency and a sheer sense of helplessness among masses that has weakened national cohesion already to very uncomfortable levels.

A Critical Look into Cold Start

Despite all its audacity and bravado by Indian military top brass, Cold Start has some critical flaws. Indian army is nowhere near executing it as per its inception;
Biggest challenge for Cold Start is to gauge Pakistan's nuclear Red Line. Despite the rhetoric of fighting an intense and short war with Pakistan and China simultaneously under the nuclear overhang, it would be extremely dangerous and delicate undertaking of Indian military to execute Cold Start without triggering a nuclear retaliation from Pakistan, if Pakistan begins to lose large territory.

In the absence of any strategic depth to repel Indian conventional incursion it is safe to assume that nuclear threshold of Pakistan is not very high. Facing existential threat in form of Cold Start, in midst of 4th generation war, Pakistan could reach its critical threshold much earlier than Indian anticipations. This would be cataclysmic for millions on both sides. There are no predefined and documented parameters available about nuclear escalation point of Pakistan and this is deliberate to create a strategic ambiguity. This situation puts a big question mark on Cold Start realization.

In 2007, during an interview, an officer of the Strategic Planning Division (SPD) of Pakistan mentioned that Pakistan would retain this strategic ambiguity and element of surprise regarding deployment of nuclear weapons during a conflict to keep the adversary uncertain.
The clearest articulation of Pakistan's “red line” came from Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, former head of SPD, “General conditions under which Pakistan would deploy its nuclear weapons include: India attacks Pakistan and conquers a large part of its territory; India destroys a large part of Pakistan's land or air forces; India blockades Pakistan in an effort to strangle it economically; or India pushes Pakistan into a state of political destabilization or creates large scale internal subversion in the country.”

Due to Pakistan's strategic ambiguity and nuclear deterrence the whole Cold Start doctrine has been shattered and both the militaries have emerged at Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) scenario. Under this scenario, Cold Start and a subsequent nuclear war pose an equal threat of nuclear annihilation to both the countries. This scenario itself is a challenge for execution of Cold Start.
In the realm of conventional warfare, Pakistan army has its own operational doctrine of “offensive defense”, which seeks to respond to an Indian attack with aggressive counter attacks on India. There is no way to measure the amount of power Pakistan would imply while defending against Indian attack and launching its own while executing its offensive defense doctrine. Potentially, Pakistani response must be more ruthless and powerful than Indian incursion, and its anticipated reaction by Pakistan, to send back a strong military and political signal to New Delhi and rest of the world, at the same time. Indians will always remain ambiguous about a possible reaction by Pakistan.

The threat posed by future dislocation of Indian strike elements was taken seriously, despondently Pakistan army began construction of bunkers and watch towers along Bikaner-Suratgarh in 2005 which took Indian military and press by surprise.

Indian forces are not prepared to execute the entire Cold Start right now and it would take them at least ten years to attain minimum required level of preparedness for executing the entire plan. Cold Start right now is in experimental stages. This fact was highlighted vividly during post 26/11 scenario when Indian air force failed to launch any surprise surgical strike inside Pakistan despite their attempts. Indian military is busy in improving this doctrine and for that multiple war games have been conducted.

As some critical Indian indigenous military programs run astray, Indian military lately relied on Western and US weapon systems, which are indeed superior technology. But there is a downside of acquiring these weapons that they take a long period before becoming operational. Pakistan and China have worked overtime to bridge this technical gap to prevent Indian military to get qualitative edge over Pakistan. Recent acquisitions of Pakistan air force have narrowed the technical gap between the two air forces to a considerable level.

Maneuver warfare demands free thinking junior officers with ability to improvise and adopt rather than a lot of men trained tightly to implement “Schoolhouse Solutions”. Apart from deficiency in training specifically for maneuver warfare, Indian army is facing a stiff shortfall of at least 11,000 junior officers.

Cruise missile Babar –A game changer. With its 700km range it is capable of taking out every major Indian military base along Pakistan border.

Indian air force, though inducting high level weapons and combat aircraft holds a very poor record of maintenance. Indian air force has lost hundreds of its combat aircraft and pilots in attrition during the past decade. Executing Cold Start even in a conventional warfare would be not easy for India due to Pakistani ballistic and cruise missiles. Moving Indian air force strike squadrons to forward air force bases and planned displacement of armour and mechanized divisions to
close proximity of international border would put large amount of Indian military strength within striking range of Pakistani ballistic and cruise missiles which have already become operational in Pakistan army. Though India has Russian made long range and high altitude surface to air missiles (SAMs) but they are no solution to Pakistani ballistic, cruise and air launched missiles.

Deployment of ballistic missiles by Pakistan (Some of them are already deployed), even with conventional warheads, would flare up a large conflict in the sub-continent which would shatter Indian dream of punishing Pakistan in a short war under a nuclear overhang. The war could get protracted, long drawn and overtly conventional. International intervention by US, China, UK, Saudi Arabia and UN would be unavoidable. This would undermine Indian designs of keeping this conflict as bilateral.

Protecting and keeping supply lines open, in a protracted war of attrition, to help invaded IBGs would be a challenge for Indian forces especially once they cross into Pakistani side of international border. Apart from these IBGs, Cold Start, right now, is a nightmare from logistical point of view. Indian army would have to undertake a massive prepositioning of fuel, ammunitions, spares and other necessary goods to implement Cold Start at its fullest. Right now, this is a major deficiency of Indian army.

Pakistani Response

Despite many inherited tactical and strategic flaws in it, Cold Start was perceived as a real threat by Pakistan army as it poses a considerable national security challenge. Direct threats were made, in 2008, by then Indian military chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor and head of Indian Training Command, Lt-General A.S. Lamba of Indian preparation of a two-front war against China and Pakistan concurrently. Indian politicians denied these but current buildup of Indian military might is a clear indication that Cold Start is still a very clear and present danger to Pakistan.
This threat perception of Indian doctrine is a primary driver behind Pakistan military's comprehensive modernization plan. Pakistan military establishment worked extensively on following areas to deter any Indian adventure under any doctrine or strategy.

Enhancing Pakistan army's second strike capability by making ballistic and cruise missiles operational. Ghauri, Ghaznavi and Shaheen land attack ballistic missiles are operational with Army Strategic Force Command since 2006. No Anti-missile system would work accurately due to high speed of missiles and low distances between engaging targets. All surface to air missile (SAMs) systems operational in Indian army are based on technology emerged during 1970's. Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) capability is hard to come due to technical challenges. Even US National Missile Defense (NMD) cannot guarantee complete safety against a barrage of incoming ballistic missiles.

Since last two years, Pakistan army has enhanced its C4I2 (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence and Information) capabilities by inducting various net centric systems into its operations and trainings. These systems were tested intensively during Azm-e-Nau-3 exercises earlier this year. Noticeable fact here is that these exercises were largest in the last 20 years (since Zarb-e-Momin 1989). Some 50,000 troops took part in these exercises. Deterring Cold Start was among key objectives of these war games. Pakistan army declared 2009 as a year of training in order to make units familiar with new emerging military technologies and to devise new tactics where these technologies would be applied in future conflicts.

Pakistan army artillery guns fire during Azm-e-Nau 3

Enhancing Pakistan army and PAF joint operation capabilities during the war and anti-terrorism operations. Pakistan army and air force conducted some of the most successful joint operations in modern counter insurgency history. Large number of terrorist hideouts, training camps and weapon dumps were destroyed in Swat and FATA regions, in these coordinated strikes. Pakistan air force conducted largest war games earlier this year under the name of “High Mark 2010”. Main purpose of this exercise was to enhance close air support to army units in battle fields. Pakistan Army's Azm-e-Nau-3 and PAF's High Mark 2010 converged in a single military exercise in later stages.

Enhancing Stand-off land attack capability of PAF by inducting both new aerial platforms like F-16M, JF-17 Thunder and various air-to-ground weapon systems like H-2, H-4 and Ra'ad ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile).

With their long stand-off ranges (60km,120km and 350km respectively) these weapons provide PAF with excellent operational flexibility and lethality in its air to ground operations against any invading enemy into Pakistan. PAF fighters loaded with these weapons and flying in own skies would be a much bigger challenge for invading Indian army units to cope with.
JF-17 Thunder project holds a significant importance in the sense that being a self designed and self made fighter jet it would enable PAF to eliminate numerical disparity vis-à-vis Indian air force. In all previous Pak-India conflicts this numerical superiority of enemy remained a serious problem for PAF.

Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) Ra’ad

Induction of AEW&C (Airborne early warning and control) capability. Swedish Erieye and future procurement of Chinese ZDK-03 AWACS platforms. These platforms have enabled Pakistan air force and army to detect enemy movement early in order to build a prompt response with required lethality. These systems with their powerful radars can look deep into enemy territory while flying well inside Pakistani air space.

State of the art Erieye AWE&C is a tremendous boost in PAF’s C4I2 capabilities

On the axis of militancy, Indians are also losing ground and getting desperate as Pakistan military is destroying Indian backed insurgencies in FATA and Baluchistan. Window of opportunity for Indians is closing fast now as they were banking too much on their 4th generation war and subsequently US pressure on Pakistan for “securing” Pakistan's strategic assets. This is not happening.

While PAF and Army remain aggressive in weapon procurement and training, Pakistan Navy remains a matter of grave concern. After the arrival of this PPP regime, Navy has delayed or perhaps cancelled inexplicably the procurement of lethal German U-214 class submarines which were to be the spearhead of any Pakistani sea defenses and were giving nightmares to the Indian Navy. Despite extensive studies by SMAP (Submarine Acquisition and Procurement) group of the Navy, which had recommended the new German subs, the proposal was rejected by the government without any reason. No new Subs have been inducted in the last 10 years while the French Agosta 90-B subs are aging fast. Submarine force is the cutting edge of Navy. Right now, there is something seriously wrong with it. Indians are aggressively modernizing their submarine force while Pakistani submarine force is facing serious crisis. In any future war with India, this criminal betrayal of national security would cost the nation dearly. Pakistan Navy is the weakest link in the three armed forces at the moment and Indians are aggressively cashing in on the opportunity.

This modernization program of Pakistan armed forces is envisaged to complete in 2019, almost the same time when Indian army would complete its current procurements. But these preparations are in conventional sphere of warfare. Pakistan military has made it clear that in case of any misadventure by Indian military, Pakistan will deploy non-conventional weapons as well. A clear threshold for this deployment is not defined purposefully. Indians want to avoid this scenario while executing Cold Start but this is an unavoidable eventuality due to massive numerical disparity in both the forces.

Indeed all these preparations to counter Indian designs are an expensive undertaking for a country like Pakistan but in the realms of warfare and combat, military plans are devised keeping the enemy capabilities under consideration, not the intentions.

Recent Development

Recently, Indian military and political leadership has tried to conceal the preparations of Cold Start behind the bravado of Indian military being “defensive” in nature. But it was not very long ago when General Deepak Kapoor's (former Indian army Chief) statement about Indian IBGs entering into Pakistan in 72 to 96 hours created ripple effects in already turbulent

Pakistan- India relations. Indian political leadership was quick to do damage control. In November 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Washington;
“Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our country and that is the stated position of the Government of India”.
This statement means nothing keeping the Indian military buildup in mind. Indian military's current and future procurement plans negates loudly the rhetoric of peace by the Indian premier.
Current Indian army chief, General VK Singh responded in following words when asked about Cold Start;
“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 the recent years, we have been improving our systems with respect to mobilization, but our basic military posture is defensive,”
Though this statement was issued to divert world attention from Indian military buildup and weaponization but even this statement gave the hint of what Indian military is up to. Mobilization is the key in maneuver warfare to implement doctrines like Cold Start. It was fast mobilization in Operation Meghdoot in 1984 that enabled Indian military to capture strategically important Sia La, Bilafond La, and Gyong La passes around Siachen glacier. All three are still under Indian control.
Element of surprise and swift mobilization ensured the success in Operation Meghdoot and this is what Indian military is eying in future conflicts as well. Whole theme of Cold Start is inspired by this operation of Indian army in 1984 as well as by the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when Israel defeated armed forces of three Arab nations in just a few hours exploiting the elements of secrecy, surprise, swiftness and ruthlessness.

Final Thoughts

Pakistan's security challenges are multidimensional with diverse internal and external dynamics. At present, it is internal conflict that is the center of gravity in national security threat perception. Army's top brass has also declared that it is the internal conflict which is the biggest challenge but at the same time it has also made clear that Pakistan cannot ignore what is happening on the Eastern front.

Cold Start is a threat looming around the Eastern fronts but it is the situation on the Western theatre which would decide the outcome of the war on Eastern border. If Pakistan army remains engaged in a war on the Western border, Indians would have a decisive edge in any future conflict. Pakistan's national security dilemma is multifaceted where the army is fighting a ruthless war on internal front, holding both lines on Eastern and Western theatres. The mission is made more difficult in the absence of any political leadership or diplomatic vision and due to a confused media which does not support the national security requirements of the era. It is necessary for Pakistan to bring this internal menace to an end now, whose centre of gravity lies in Afghanistan. US presence in Afghanistan is part of the problem and not part of the solution for Pakistan. It seems clear that the fate of Cold Start would also be decided in the gorges of Afghanistan. If Pakistan can close the Western theatre and focus entirely on the Eastern front, Cold Start would remain a non-starter. If India is not prepared to launch the Cold Start now, the fact remains that Pakistan is also not prepared enough to face it yet.

Future wars would be urban, decentralized, asymmetric, high intensity, irregular, multiple front conflicts fought by regular armies that would be desperate to keep it conventional in a nuclear age. While Pakistan may have the luxury to pick and choose its weapons and policies, time is one luxury Pakistan does not have. With 4GW already in the advanced stages, Cold Start is just around the corner too.

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