The following is a compilation of different military scenarios that India might face in the next 10-15 years. We are living in very interesting times, and we can never be sure of what challenge the Indian Armed Forces will be facing next. I don't claim to be an expert of any sort on this subject, and these scenarios reflect my opinions and knowledge only. Feel free to comment and add new info/scenarios. Scenario #1: Cold Start After a Hot Day Probability: Likely Description: Due to the chaotic political situation in Pakistan and the increasing radicalisation of the civilian population, terrorist outfits in Pakistan spread like wildfire. In a follow-up of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, another large-scale terrorist attack is launched on a major Indian city, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The attacks are traced back to Pakistan, and, facing enormous public pressure, the GoI authorizes surgical strikes on Pakistani terror camps. Expecting a military response from the Pakistani Armed Forces, the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force launch their first preemptive strike in history. Utilizing the "Cold Start" doctrine, the Indian Army's Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) launch bitzkrieg-style incursions into Pakistani territory, especially in the Rajasthan-Sindh area, while large numbers of Indian troops are airdropped behind enemy lines, cutting off Pakistani lines of communication and paralyzing their command structure. The Indian Army's advances are facilitated by the IAF's establishment of air superiority over the battlespace, and the Indian Navy's blockade of Karachi. At the end of 48-72 hours of conflict, the IAF has eliminated most Pakistani terror camps, and the Indian Army has advanced about 50 miles into Pakistani territory. The captured land is used as a negotiating tool to bring an end to the conflict, with terms of peace heavily favoring India. Notes: The danger of this scenario is in the possibility of India's Cold Start escalating into a "hot" nuclear war. To prevent this, the Indian Army will likely avoid fighting in sensitive areas like Kashmir, and will not attack targets vital to Pakistan's existence as a state (like the Islamabad Capital Territory or the Grand Trunk Road). Most of the fighting will probably take place in the Rajasthan-Sindh desert, where the wide open plains favor the mechanized tactics practiced by the IBGs. Preparedness: India has conducted several exercises since 2006 that have effectively demonstrated the ability of the Indian Army and Air Force to conduct a Cold Start operation. I believe that we are ready for Cold Start even today, if need be. The three keys for a successful Cold Start are: a large fleet of transport aircraft, a large mechanized and armored force for making quick and powerful thrusts, and an air force that can establish air superiority and effectively coordinate ground-support missions with the Army. India has already met all three of these criteria, and our capability to launch a successful Cold Start will only grow in the future. Scenario #2: Kargil v2.0: Probability: Somewhat Likely Description: With the backing of the ISI and Pakistani Army, self-styled "freedom fighters" infiltrate Kashmir in an attempt break Indian control of the region. The infiltrators will likely occupy strategic points in Kashmir, and will attempt to communicate with Kashmiri "separatist" groups to forment a greater rebellion against Indian rule. Preparedness: This approach has already been tried before several times by Pakistan, including during Operation Gibraltar in 1965 and the Kargil War in 1999. In both occasions, the local Kashmiris cooperated with the Indian forces instead of the Pak intruders. The experience of Kargil is still fresh in the minds of the Indian Armed Forces, and I am sure that we are even more prepared now for another Kargil-style war than in 1999. Scenario #3: A Second Sino-Indian War: Probability: Unlikely Description: Faced with a lack of international support over its illegitimate claims to Arunachal Pradesh, and increasing Indian assertiveness over the matter, China launches a limited offensive against India. The objectives are to capture and hold onto most of Arunachal Pradesh, which China considers to be part of "South Tibet. Of particular interest is the culturally important Tawang Valley, which has historically had a very strong Tibetan presence, and is the birthplace of the Dalai Lama; China hopes that these territorial gains will please Tibetans and increase the popularity of the CCP among them. Like the 1962 war, it is also likely that the war will escalate into multiple fronts once started, including Ladakh and Sikkim. The Indian Navy might also get involved by intercepting Chinese shipping in the Indian Ocean, though this might also escalate the conflict into uncomfortable levels. Notes: It is not in China's interest to wage war against India, especially considering the very marginal gains in case of victory. China's territorial claims are used more as a negotiating tool than an actual casus belli. Starting an unprovoked war where it will likely be seen as an aggressor would also be detrimental to China's international reputation. For all these reasons, and more, the chances of a future Sino-Indian conflict are quite slim. Preparedness: Although a future war against China is unlikely, the Indian Armed Forces would still do well to increase their preparedness in case the worst happens. The Indian Army needs to improve infrastructure in the Northeast, as well to induct heavy/medium-lift helicopters and M-777 artillery. The IAF already has two squadrons of Su-30s in the NE, but it wouldn't hurt to have more Akash SAMs and maybe LCA squadrons in the region. In terms of the navy, it needs more submarines to effectively intercept Chinese shipping in the IOR in case of war. Scenario #4: Doomsday in South Asia: Probability: Very Unlikely Description: The Taliban and other Islamist outfits have secured control over much of the Pakistani Armed Forces, and thus, the entire state of Pakistan falls into the hands of fundamentalists. Terrorist attacks against India reach an unprecedented high. In response, India launches surgical strikes against terrorist camps; this time, however, the Pakistani response is an immediate nuclear salvo against India. India responds likewise, and all hell breaks loose.... Preparedness: It is difficult to be "prepared" for something as horrible as a nuclear war. India has started a good initiative through it PAD and AAD anti-ballistic missiles; however, neither of them are yet operational. India's nuclear triad is also not yet operational, with the Sagarika SLBM still under testing/development. It is of the utmost importance that India's missile defence shield and nuclear deterrent ready as soon as possible, especially since a local nuclear war can quickly escalate into a global one. Scenario #5: Unkil India to the Rescue Probability: Unlikely Description: In a situation similar to what the Maldives in 1988 and Sri Lanka in the 90s dealt with, unstable governments in South Asia face the threat of being overthrown in violent coups, revolutions, or secessionist movements; weak and desperate, they ask the biggest kid on the block (India) to help them out. The two South Asian countries that are the most unstable and the biggest candidates for political upheaval in the next 10-15 years, besides Pakistan, are IMO Burma and Nepal. India has great relations with both countries, and it is possible that either government might turn to India for assistance. Doing so would greatly increase our reputation and influence in the region. Preparedness: The Indian Armed Forces are definitely capable of projecting power among our immediate backyard, which we proved during Operation Cactus in 1988. However, whether or not our political leadership is prepared to use the Indian Army as a tool of diplomacy is a completely different question, and I am afraid the answer is no. However, this might change in the future (at least, I hope it does).