India’s Doctrinal Shift?

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Neil, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    The Indian Army is undertaking its first strategic transformation in more than two decades. And it has its sights firmly on China.

    India’s 1.1 million-strong army is on the verge of major doctrinal and organisational change.

    Working from the results of a ‘Transformation Study,’ which was produced by a team of generals led by Chief of Army Staff Gen. VK Singh when he was Eastern Army Commander, a series of radical suggestions are set to be implemented to bring about a paradigm shift in the way the Indian Army is deployed and operationalised, both defensively and offensively.

    Essentially, the changes are aimed at strengthening the Army’s capacity for fighting what one serving general has described as a war on ‘two and a half fronts’—a reference to possible simultaneous confrontations with Pakistan and China at the same time as managing an internal counter-insurgency effort.

    So far, India’s four wars with Pakistan and one with China have been stand-alone conflicts, but India’s strategic thinkers are concerned that there’s a genuine possibility that close allies China and Pakistan could launch a joint offensive against India.

    And the Army doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed. Instead, it’s looking for an overhaul in thinking that will produce a force capable of quick mobilization and rapid deployment.

    Speaking at his annual media event, on January 15, Singh confirmed that this current line of thinking reaches up to the highest levels of the force. At the event, Singh revealed publicly for the first time that the Army would ‘reorganise, restructure and relocate’ various formations to help transform it into a more agile and lethal force. ‘We’re looking at reorganising and restructuring our force headquarters…for faster decision making, so that it becomes slightly flattened and more responsive,’ he said.

    These views chimed with comments he made last year, when he told me: ‘Our focus is now shifting from being an adversary-specific force to a capability-based force, able to fight across the spectrum—in the mountains, in the desert, night and day, in the hot summer or harsh winter.’

    According to Singh, the Army is planning ‘test beds’ to try out some of the concepts contained in the study with a view to eventually implementing them on a larger scale. ‘We’re looking at theaterisation of combat support resources to ensure synergy of resources in a theatre,’ he added.

    So what does this mean in practical terms? Top generals have indicated that under these plans, the Army will be organised in a way that allows two theatres to be independent of each other so that one theatre won’t require the resources of another if both are engaged in combat operations. In addition, the Army is also reportedly planning to increase its aviation assets by securing more helicopters for the Army Aviation Corps.


    It’s been more than two decades since the last transformation in India’s strategic doctrine. Back in the 1980s, the mercurial Gen. K. Sundarji conceptualised and implemented a strategy based around the principle of deploying massive armoured strength aimed at slicing Pakistan at its ‘waist’. This concept was first tested with Operation Brasstacks in the late 1980s, with the army divided into ‘defensive’ and ‘strike’ corps, on the assumption that it would be Pakistan that would make the first move in a conventional war.

    Under the plan, the defensive corps, located closer to the border, was meant to absorb the initial Pakistani offensive, while the three strike corps, with massive superior capabilities, were designed to strike deep, with the ultimate aim of cutting Pakistan in two.

    However, the limitations of the Sundarji doctrine were exposed in 2001-02 during Operation Parakram, when India mobilised the entire army as a coercive strategy after Pakistan-based terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament. The massive mobilisation took weeks to come to fruition, nullifying whatever advantage India had hoped to derive from moving first. The failure of the Sundarji doctrine prompted India to devise a new strategy popularly known as ‘Cold Start,’ under which the defensive corps close to the border with Pakistan were re-designated as ‘pivot’ corps.

    These pivot corps were given enhanced offensive elements under integrated battle groups that consisted of division-sized forces comprising armour, artillery and aviation assets designed to swiftly hit Pakistan before the strike corps, located deeper inside India, could mobilize. Cold Start was meant to see the battle groups in action in less than 48 hours.

    Over the past decade, this doctrine has been tested and fine-tuned through a series of exercises in the deserts of Rajasthan and on the plains of Punjab. But this new study looks to take the Cold Start concept to another level by placing all three strike corps under one command to allow for a faster response.

    Another new element in the army’s reorganization plan is the formation of a mountain strike corps, which would be deployed closer to India’s vast mountainous border with China, either in the east or the north. The fact is that although no one in India’s military establishment wants to spell it out, China is at the centre of future strategic planning in the Indian armed forces as a whole, not just for the Army.

    And, as China looms larger, India’s Defence Ministry is shifting its focus away from Pakistan in its discussions on the Army’s next long-term integrated perspective plan, which will cover the period from 2012 to 2027. Indeed, officials have said the Army has recommended that infrastructure along India’s entire 4000-plus kilometre border with China be swiftly upgraded to enable it to deploy and operate effectively in this difficult terrain.

    Specifically, the Army wants the government to build all-weather roads right up to the border, and also connect all important formation headquarters in the high altitude areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh. Already, more than 75 tactically and strategically important roads are reportedly currently under construction in the areas bordering China, and the army wants these roads to be operational as quickly as possible to increase its ability to deploy and maintain adequate troop strength along the border.

    Other elements of the long-term integrated plan are to include the enhancement of meaningful training to prepare for existing and emerging challenges; improving the quality of life and living conditions in forward deployment areas; and enhancing synergies with other services.

    Yet even though the plan is technically still under discussion, as far as China goes, then there have already been some developments. For example, two mountain divisions are to be raised in the north-east of the country by the middle of this year. Meanwhile, at least two more divisions to be raised in the next five years will enable the army to have a dedicated Mountain Strike Corps to be deployed in the north-east or in Ladakh.

    All this suggests that after nearly two decades of lethargy and indifference, India’s defence planners are bringing in fresh concepts and gearing up to meet future strategic challenges. There’s plenty for them to think about.

    Nitin Gokhale is Defence & Strategic Affairs Editor with Indian broadcaster NDTV 24×7


    http://the-diplomat.com/2011/01/25/india’s-doctrinal-shift/2/
     
  2.  
  3. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    15,630
    Likes Received:
    11,706
    thanks great info.....................
     
  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    This is great. Finally doing something about China in a big way. Building a capability based force is of obvious paramount importance.

    @Ray Sir

    Sir, what do you think will be the objectives of the Mountain Corps? And the objectives of PLA in it's current form with respect to India? Will there be any changes to PLA's forces with our changes in the doctrine.

    To what extent can PLA perform it's objectives?

    The PLAAF's main objective is Air Denial while IAF's is Air Interdiction. I guess PLA does not rely on PLAAF for deep strike penetration attacks, rather focuses on artillery. But will this new doctrine force IAF to finally start supporting IA in CAS and other duties instead of only getting into a shooting game with PLAAF?

    I apologize in advance if my questions crosses the boundaries of how much you can speak about it.
     
  5. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    no thnks needed saya bhai.....this y we are here....get and share info....!!
     
  6. captonjohn

    captonjohn Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    179
    Nice analysis friend, thanks for sharing this great article. Finally our forces are seriously doing something to tackle china-pak threat.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,553
    Likes Received:
    6,564
    Cold start was overkill against Pakistan it is better suited against the Chinese. Good to see this doctrine change/upgrade to address this issue. This doctrine adapts to the changing security threats, this along with acquisition of better weaponry,alliances and exercises with other countries will help implement this concept into a more effective doctrine.
     
  8. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Messages:
    2,465
    Likes Received:
    1,923
    Location:
    La La Land
    This video talks about the same doctrine:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  9. Agnostic_Indian

    Agnostic_Indian Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Messages:
    930
    Likes Received:
    241
    Location:
    Kerala
    should we change nuk doctrine from no first use policy to first use if we are attacked from both sides(big enough attack which can possibly change our territorial integrity ) ?
     
  10. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    It's not necessary. Our current adversaries cannot destroy us with Nukes so we have plenty of time to strike back. As long as our delivery systems are protected we will face no such issues. If our BMD system works fine, we will have a good advantage in that department, especially against Pakistan.

    Nuclear war is overrated in the Subcontinent scenario, even with China in the picture.
     
  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,287
    Location:
    BANGalore
    One, cold start doctrine was devised for pak and to make sure its perceived low nuke threshold was taken care of. Cold start is not an overkill for pak, but just the right doctrine.

    Cold start is just not implimentable against china, least of all for the terrain. A doctrine was required for china and its good that we finally have one being developed, expect to see some exercises in the eastern sector in the future to validate the doctrine.
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,553
    Likes Received:
    6,564
    The amount of airpower we need to implement cold start for Pak I am guessing is about 150-400 depending on how big the war gets (IMO not more than 3 weeks) and how the ground effort goes. We will eventually have this number in sukhios alone. The acquisition and development of more warplanes(LCA,MRCA,PAKFA) are all for the a possible Chinese front where airpower will play a central role. This new doctrine will define a strategy for the Chinese. Even many other programs (Akash,BMD,AWACS) IMO have always been more suited against a Chinese front. This new doctrine puts China in a precarious position.
     
  13. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    1,946
    Location:
    India
    no problemo bro.....yeah finally there is something that is being done on the ground and not just papers...
    but all thanks to Gen.Singh- he changed army mindset the day he entered the office-he is like a traditional army ethos with modern mindset a truly lethal combination
     
  14. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,287
    Location:
    BANGalore
    Does not answer my question of asking relevance of Cold start not being suitable for Pak but for China. Indian doctrine against China does not talk about cold start. The finer points of the doctrine will only unravel in the coming days. Indian air force will be majorly for CAS mission and for possible use to disrupt LoC of China.

    Cold Start is an offensive doctrine against Pak, the doctrine against China is defensive. India has no intention to attack China.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    With accretions in the manpower and equipment and improvement in the infrastructure, will certainly enhance the offensive capability. There was always opportunity for offensive capability even before. Now, it is sort of guaranteed and fail safe. It is important to remember that the Chinese have improved their infrastructure and the capability for quicker mobilisation and logistic supply, more so with the Tibetan Railway being operational and improving.

    Chinese are improving their military presence in Tibet, but their constant worry is the Dalai Lama factor on Tibetans and that would prove to be a thorn on their side in case of a conflict with India. To add to it, the Uighurs of Xinjiang are not really giving the Chinese a worthy night's sleep.

    What are the objectives? Maybe some other time. It is important to understand there are objectives right along the border, then there are Intermediate Objectives and then Terminal Objectives. It all depends on what is the political aim.

    As per strategic papers, there is a lament that there is no Political Aim as such.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    The Cold Start Doctrine purportedly against Pakistan is ideal for the Western Front, given the geo-political realities.

    Bifurcating Pakistan, as envisaged earlier, while possible, is not feasible, given the timeframe that is available before the international community intervenes.
     
  17. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,553
    Likes Received:
    6,564
    The relevance of cold start was very important not just for it being a formidable war strategy but IMO the fear of cold start may have also prevented possible wars. When Pakistani military met US military higher ups or politicians thy always mentioned Cold start. USA would afterwards release concilliatory articles like the one below:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/248971
    US embassy cables: India 'unlikely' to deploy Cold Start against Pakistan

    1. (S/NF) Summary: The Indian Army's "Cold Start Doctrine" is a mixture of myth and reality. It has never been and may never be put to use on a battlefield because of substantial and serious resource constraints, but it is a developed operational attack plan announced in 2004 and intended to be taken off the shelf and implemented within a 72-hour period during a crisis. Cold Start is not a plan for a comprehensive invasion and occupation of Pakistan. Instead, it calls for a rapid, time- and distance-limited penetration into Pakistani territory with the goal of quickly punishing Pakistan, possibly in response to a Pakistan-linked terrorist attack in India, without threatening the survival of the Pakistani state or provoking a nuclear response. It was announced by the BJP-led government in 2004, but the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not publicly embraced Cold Start and GOI uncertainty over Pakistani nuclear restraint may inhibit future implementation by any government. If the GOI were to implement Cold Start given present Indian military capabilities, it is the collective judgment of the Mission that India would encounter mixed results. The GOI failed to implement Cold Start in the wake of the audacious November 2008 Pakistan-linked terror attack in Mumbai, which calls into question the willingness of the GOI to implement Cold Start in any form and thus roll the nuclear dice. At the same time, the existence of the plan reassures the Indian public and may provide some limited deterrent effect on Pakistan. Taken together, these factors underline that the value of the doctrine to the GOI may lie more in the plan's existence than in any real world application. End Summary.

    What It Is and What It Is Not

    -----------------------------

    2. (S/NF) As we understand it, Cold Start is an operational plan devised by the Indian Army and designed to make a rapid and limited penetration into Pakistani territory with the goal of quickly punishing Pakistan over some event, such as a Pakistan-linked terrorist attack in India, without threatening the survival of the Pakistani state or provoking a nuclear response. Cold Start is not a plan for the comprehensive invasion or occupation of Pakistan. Cold Start is said to have been formulated after the Indian Army's slow and drawn-out 2002 mobilization in response to the fatal 2001 Pakistan-linked terror attack on the Indian Parliament. The lengthy process of mobilization, lack of strategic and operational flexibility, and the resulting lack of any element of surprise drew criticism from Indian politicians and opinion leaders, which prompted Indian Army planners to devise Cold Start. (See Reftel for further details on Cold Start's genesis).

    3. (S/NF) In order to avoid the Indian Army's slow and lumbering military mobilization process and preserve the element of surprise in attack, Cold Start attacks could begin within 72 hours after the attack order has been given, and would be led by armored spearheads launched from prepared forward positions in Punjab and Rajasthan. As described, the plan emphasizes speed and overwhelming firepower: armored formations and accompanying infantry would advance into eastern Pakistan with limited goals in terms of distance and in terms of duration. Although the plan reportedly has a significant air support component, it is unclear to us how much joint versus parallel planning has taken place. We have not heard of a major operational role for the Indian Navy or parallel sea-launched attacks. (Reftel provides further analysis of the military aspects of Cold Start doctrine and implementation).

    4. (S/NF) A positive attribute of Cold Start from the Indian perspective is that the short 72-hour time period between decision and attack could shield the GOI from international pressure to refrain from taking military action against Pakistan. India's prolonged 2002 mobilization period gave the international community notice of Indian troop movements and allowed plenty of time for a series of Western interlocutors to lobby GOI leaders. Even if the plan is never actually implemented -- and there is considerable question as to GOI intent to ever implement it -- news of Cold Start's existence has already paid dividends to Indian policymakers by providing reassurance to the Indian public that the GOI has the means to punish Pakistan for attacks on Indian soil without triggering potential mutually-assured nuclear destruction. From the Indian perspective, the unimplemented plan has the added virtue of accentuating Pakistani discomfiture and angst, which in theory may have some deterrent value.

    Prospects for Cold Start

    ------------------------

    5. (S/NF) As noted above, GOI intent to ever actually implement Cold Start is very much an open question. The Cold Start doctrine was announced in April 2004 by the BJP-led government that was replaced shortly thereafter by the Manmohan Singh government, which has not since publicly embraced Cold Start. A political green-light to implement Cold Start, fraught as it is with potential nuclear consequences, would involve a highly opaque decision-making process and would likely necessitate broad political consensus, a factor that could prolong the time between a precipitating event such as a Pakistan-linked terror attack and Cold Start deployment (which in turn could reduce the element of surprise). We lack firm details of the decision-making process that the political leadership would use in the event of an incident that would trigger consideration of Cold Start or other military action against Pakistan. The precise function of the Cabinet Committee on Security in ratifying decisions to take military action, the character of the military's advisory responsibilities to the Cabinet, the possible ad hoc nature of decision-making in the upper levels of the Indian government and the role of Congress Party figures like Sonia Gandhi in this process are not clearly understood.

    6. (S/NF) If the GOI were to implement Cold Start given present Indian military capabilities, it is the collective judgment of the Mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement. Reftel sets forth in detail the various resource challenges that India would have to overcome, challenges that range from road and rail transportation to ammunition supply. In addition, Cold Start's reliance on swift mobile advance would have to contend with a large number of built-up populated areas in Pakistan that the Indian Army did not have to face in 1971, the last time it advanced in force into Pakistani Punjab and Sindh.

    7. (S/NF) Indian leaders no doubt realize that, although Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner without triggering a nuclear response, they can not be sure whether Pakistani leaders will in fact refrain from such a response. Even in the absence of a Pakistani nuclear response, GOI leaders are aware also that even a limited Indian incursion into Pakistan will likely lead to international condemnation of Indian action and a resulting loss of the moral high ground that GOI leaders believe India enjoys in its contentious relationship with Pakistan.
     
  18. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    20,553
    Likes Received:
    6,564
    Ray I always wanted to ask after the bifurfication if there was any plans for occupation even if temporarily for leverage or as a bargaining tool??(this is where we failed in previous wars with Pakistan).
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    There lies the nub.

    One can have any doctrine.

    In 1971 alone there was some political dynamics.
     
  20. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    24,274
    Likes Received:
    11,287
    Location:
    BANGalore
    Bifurcation as an OPOBJ disappeared long back. It was part of Sundarji doctrine. Op Parakram showed its limitations and Cold Start came in. It calls for shallow gains to take to the table.
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Not that I know of.

    I presume it would be on the lines that the bifurcating Pak would divide the Punjabis from the Sindhis and Balochis, who are not too enamoured by the Pak Punjabi domination and they would take care of the situation them, without Indian suggestion.

    That would start the Domino effect.
     

Share This Page