India’s “Cold Start” military doctrine | World Defense

India’s “Cold Start” military doctrine

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India’s “Cold Start” military strategy


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Cold Start is the name given to a limited-war strategy designed to seize Pakistani territory swiftly without, in theory, risking a nuclear conflict. It has its roots in an attack on India’s parliament in 2001, which was carried out by terrorist groups allegedly used as proxies by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services (ISI).

India’s response to the onslaught was a flop: by the time its lumbering Strike Corps were mobilized and positioned on the frontier, Pakistan had already bulked up its defences, raising both the costs of incursion and the risk that it would escalate into a nuclear conflict.

Cold Start is an attempt to draw lessons from this: having nimbler, integrated units stationed closer to the border would allow India to inflict significant harm before international powers demanded a ceasefire; by pursuing narrow aims, it would also deny Pakistan a justification for triggering a nuclear strike. Yet India has refused to own up to the existence of the doctrine since it was first publicly discussed in 2004. Nor was its rumoured existence enough to stop Pakistani terrorists from launching devastating attacks in Mumbai in 2008, killing 164 people.
 
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