From a bold cut to a cold start
Kaushik Kapisthalam reviews Vajra Shakti, the Indian Army’s recently concluded exercise on the StrategyPage.
The 2002 crisis showed for the first time the enormity of the military imbalance between India and Pakistan. Pakistani generals have always figured that they had a period of “conventional pause” in the event of an Indian attack. This refers to a time window where they believed they can hold the lines while they could implore the international community to intervene. Even Pakistani military analysts noted that this option was essentially nonexistent in 2002.
These factors and other led to the evolution of the new Indian Army doctrine, unofficially dubbed “Cold Start.” This doctrine forsakes an all out drive to dismember Pakistan in favor of short high-intensity thrusts and withdrawals that result in a visible blow to the enemy while not causing him to fear for his existence…
The Indian Army’s two recent exercises Divya Astra (in 2004) and Vajra Shakti (last week) allowed it to put its theories on firepower use and joint operations into practice. The Indian Army has also gone all out to equip its Special Forces with the most modern gear and is expanding those units as well.
At the end of the day, with Cold Start , the Indian Army has clearly seized the initiative from its Pakistani counterpart. Given the unpredictability built into the doctrine, the Pakistan army may now be forced to stretch its available resources into a forward deployed stance where they are less useful for offensive actions. It also gives the Indian political leadership to construct calibrated responses to Pakistani provocations in terms of terrorist attacks on Indian soil. Any international intervention would be faced with an Indian fait-accompli and would therefore turn to pressuring Pakistan not to use nukes. [Kaushik Kapisthalam/StrategyPage]
Related Link: For photographs and a video of Vajra Shakti, head over to Srirangan’s India-Defence blog.