SOURCE: PRAVIN DHAUSKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
While Pakistan Army still believes that it has simply nullified Indian Cold Start Doctrine by developing Tactical nukes with Hatf-IX, or Nasr Short ranged Ballistic missiles but their rhetoric and the recent test of Nuclear-tipped Babur-III Cruise missiles from an undersea mobile platform has lead to come back of sorts of India’s Cold Start Doctrine from Cold Storage.
Indian Army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat was first Army chief who openly admitted that their existed a Doctrine called ” ColdStart ” developed by the Indian Armed Forces for use in a possible war with Pakistan. ColdStart centred around the objective of rapid mobilisation of conventional forces to conduct offensive operations as part of unified battle groups inside Pakistan.
Pakistan Military in response developed tactical warheads and short ranged Surface to surface missiles which can be used to attack advancing Indian army formations. Pakistani army supports the use of Tactical nukes battlefield to neutralise conventional advantage which India holds in the region.
Pakistani establishment also holds views that Pakistans short-range tactical nuclear weapons have successfully deterred India’s Cold Start doctrine so has to make war less likely even if next terror attack in the scale of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks happens.
But fear of India’s ColdStart Doctrine has successfully deterred Pakistan from conducting another Mumbai type terror attacks in India. Psychological fear of ColdStart Doctrine was so instrumental that Pakistan’s famed ISI was told not to plan further attacks elsewhere in India of such scale which might provoke quick Indian offensive response which Pakistani military defence could not handle.
While many argued that India’s ColdStart Doctrine was developed much before 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks happened and following this India did not implement Cold Start Doctrine, which showcased that India did not have enough resources to implement but back then Cold start was just an idea and no resources or exercise were conducted to test the doctrine but three years later India did test out its Cold Start Doctrine in 2011, Operation Vijayee Bhava defence exercise involving 50000 troops and 500 armoured vehicles, including T-72, T-90 and Arjun main battle tanks, validated Cold Start Doctrine and later in the same year Operation Sudarshan Shakti revalidated the Cold Start Doctrine.
Cold Start Doctrine had some weakness in terms of lack of resources with Indian Army and Rawat wants his commanders to address this issues so that flaws can be removed and Cold Start Doctrine can be further tweaked to factor in new factors like Nasr SRBM and Tactical nukes in the battlefield.
Recent test firing of Babur III subsonic cruise missile from an underwater mobile platform also has put thrust in reviving Cold Start Doctrine, since now it is clear that Pakistani Nuclear Doctrine has evolved to such an extended that Tactical nukes are considered Pakistan’s Second strike capability and Pakistan Submarines armed with tactical nuclear tipped Babur cruise missiles will not hesitate to target Indian Cities or Indian military facilities located near its coast .
Pakistans tactical nuclear weapons have evolved from to be used in battlefield to target Indian formations into Second strike capability to target Indian Cities, which shows that Pakistan’s Nuclear doctrine has evolved from credible deterrence to full spectrum deterrence and only choice for India is to further tweak its Cold Start Doctrine and bring in advance Air defence systems specifically to tackle short range Ballistic missiles like Nasr but also develop new urban entry points into Pakistan so that Pakistan can be put into a situation, where they are either forced to nuke its own areas with heavy civilian populations or hold on to their defences .
Rawat seems to have fully understood that whether it is a full-scale conventional war or a short war involving Cold Start Doctrine, Indian Army will need to fight a war under constant Nuclear threat on the battlefield and Army will also need to keep fine tuning Cold Start Doctrine so that it acts has a deterrence to stop overconfident Pakistan Military establishments and its Intelligence network in planning next 26/11 in India.
confirmation from Rawat of Cold Start doctrine and its further tweaking already has set off a buzz in Pakistani military establishment, has India found a way to work around Pakistans tactical nuclear weapons is a question which many are asking within. How Rawat plans to revive Cold Start Doctrine might not be known soon but smile on Pakistan Military establishments that they have successfully deflated Indian Cold Start doctrine, might be now replaced with not so confident smirk.