Cold Start: A Pakistani perspective

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Known_Unknown, May 31, 2009.

  1. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    The army and air force are battling it out over how to beat Pakistan in a flash war if and when that happens.

    The Indian Air Force is not convinced about its role in the army's "cold start doctrine" for a future Indo-Pak war.

    The strategy envisages the air force providing "close air support", which calls for aerial bombing of ground targets to augment the fire power of the advancing troops.

    The growing tension between the two services is evident in a statement of air vice-marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, deputy director of the air force's own Centre for Air Power Studies.

    "There is no question of the air force fitting itself into a doctrine propounded by the army. That is a concept dead at inception," Kak said.

    A senior army officer disputes the notion of a conceptual difference between the two services. "The air force is supposed to launch an offensive under the doctrine by hitting targets deep inside enemy territory," he said. But he admitted the air force was hesitant about 'close air support'. 'Cold Start' is a post-nuclearised doctrine that envisages a "limited war" in which the army intends to inflict substantial damage on Pakistan's armed forces without letting it cross the threshold where it could think of pressing the nuclear button.

    The doctrine intends to accomplish the task before the international community led by the US and China could intercede to end hostilities. Kak said, "The air force has the primary task of achieving 'air dominance' by which Pakistan's air force is put out of action allowing the army to act at will."

    But he sees little necessity for the air force to divert frontline fighter aircraft for augmenting the army's fire power, a task that, in his opinion, can be achieved by the army's own attack helicopters and multiple rocket launchers that now have a 100-km range.

    But he agrees the two services should work according to a joint plan. It means the air force would launch 'battlefield air strikes' to neutralise threats on the ground based on an existing plan. But that would be different from an army commander calling for air support on the basis of a developing war scenario.

    That is not the only problem facing the doctrine. In the past few weeks, many have expressed doubts about the army's ability to launch operations on the basis of the new doctrine.

    There are also apprehensions about the army's incomplete deployment of forces, lack of mobility and unattended infrastructure development.

    But senior officers say the army has identified the units, which would constitute the eight division-strong independent battle groups out of its three strike corps. These battle groups would comprise mechanised infantry, artillery and armour.

    "The forces have exercised as constituted battle groups at least six times since 2004. Each of the identified unit knows where they will be deployed," a senior General said.

    According to him, the time for deployment has been cut down to "days". "No longer will the movement of troops require three months like it did when Operation Parakram was launched after the attack on Parliament in 2001," he said.

    The army also debunks the idea that the troops lack mobility. Some armed forces observers have said only 35 per cent of the army is mobile inside the country.

    They have, thus, concluded that even less numbers would be mobile inside the enemy territory.

    The army officials, however, pooh pooh the criticism claiming 100 per cent of the Indian troops are mobile.
     
  2. zraver

    zraver Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    I am willing to bet they do have a cold stop plan. While I don't have access to secret information, I am considered at least a fair read of doctrine based on systems acquisition. Pakistan has been acquiring heavy ATGM systems and the Chinese made A-100 Smerch clone.

    Pakistan faces an enemy that says cold start is designed to seize Pakistani territory- an enemy with an advantage in tanks and in the air and with a missile artillery system that everything on the Pakistani side of the border for 60-80km under threat. The response involves four obvious steps.

    1. identify the Indian units that would be used. Not that hard for the ISI to do since they have to meet the following criteria. A- have high levels of manpower and equipment readiness, B- easy access to stores, C- close to the border. D- unit has done lots of training mostly offensive training. As hostilities grew closer look for the units canceling leave, increased gunnery practice, and a surge of manpower and equipment stores.

    2. Once you've identified the enemy units, figure out how and where they will cross the border. Once you know this you pre-sight the entire region for artillery, draw up detailed plans for every bridge and culvert that needs blown, plant mine feilds and use other features to build in choke points. Master the terrain the battle will be fought on.

    All of that is fairly simple stuff and nothing more than common sense really but 3 and 4 give away the fact that there is a Cold Stop.

    3. Equip your frontier forces with the right weapons to attrit and slow down the invaders without risking precious armored reserves to the enemy air and artillery. If you had that task what would you choose? Would you pick up a large number of heavy Tow II and HJ-8 missiles and mount them on light trucks? That is what Pakistan is doing.

    Pakistani frontier forces will be aiming to blind and channel the Indian strike units so that when the counter attack comes, it comes on Pakistan's terms.

    4. Since the enemy has an advantage in rocket artillery- neutralize it by getting your own. The A-100 properly employed could kill a huge number of T-90's and BMP's. More importantly, special operations forces left behind among the civilian population could spy out and locate depots and dumps. A T-90 with no fuel or ammo is a museum piece.

    Since India, assumingly thinks it has to get in fast and get far fast then the Pakistani goal is the limit the speed, depth and direction of the penetration.

    This bring in 5. not a requirement but is the obvious. Once the Indian direction is known move up the AK and AZ tanks for the counter attack. Now the Indian air force is probably going to play a role in hunting down and atritting the PA armored reserves but some will reach the Indians. The PA will have 2 choices a force on force engagement or an attack on the flanks. The flanks are going to pose a problem for India. say the initial Indian force is worth 100 pts. Every kilometer advanced is going to cost them some points in battle losses and in units detailed off to guard the flanks.

    If the Indian troops can move fast enough shock might negate the need for a robust flank, but if the Pakistanis manage to slow it down and channel it then the flanks become critical. If Pakistan can get a large armored formation past the flanks and into the Indian rear what you have is an encirclement.

    Cold Start might work, but its full of risks.
     
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  3. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    What are the differences between the German Blitzkrieg and Cold Start? Aren't they fundamentally the same? Could the IA hope to emulate the success of the Wehrmacht against Pakistan if the nuclear threshold isn't crossed?
     
  4. zraver

    zraver Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Contrary to public perception, Blitzkrieg did not rely on surprise- Hitler never rinvaded anyone who did not know, or should not have know it was coming. The surprise in Blitzkrieg was in the operational aspects. Blitzkrieg involved using a then novel combination of mechanization and close air support to allow a rapid advance against foes equipped to fight a WWI style battle.

    Cold Start envisions having key strike units close enough, manned enough, and properly equipped to beat the Pakistanis to and on the frontier and then force a rapid penetration inducing shock and also isolating, reducing and neutralizing large parts of the PA close enough to major population centers to take nukes off the table and fast enough to beat the UN.



    If the Pakistani's are inept enough or India builds up a enough of a technology lead then this might work- look at ODS in 1991. But if the technology, doctrines and skill sets are close then the battle will be decided the old fashioned way by the guys actually in harms way. That type of a fight favors the defender over the attacker.

    As Chawinda showed, the Pakistani's can at least occasionally defend.

    India's big problem is the race to the frontier. We can probably assume that the race will start at so close to the same time as not mattering. i say this because unless India wants to do an unprovoked invasion of Pakistan war will not come without a major incident that will put the PA/ISI on alert for even the smallest changes in posture of the units they've tagged as Cold Star Units. What ever lead the Indians do get in time will probably be canceled by the fact that you can mobilize land deploy light units faster. Remember the PA does not need to or want to move large armored formations to the border. They want to slow, attrit, and channel the IA thrusts into position for the PA to unleash a counterstrike at the time of its choosing.

    Ultimately I rate India's chances of crossing the border unopposed at close to zero. I think India is going to find its recon elements and security screens under constant pressure by units that have no intention of making a last stand. Another things that will also slow the IA advance unless it wants to engage in mass slaughter will be refugees clogging the roads. Finally the inter service rivalry between the IA and IAF is bad bad news. The USAF has 3 functions- deep battle, air superiority and CAS. The IAF seems to want to ignore the CAS aspect. If the lead recon and screen units take a beating, more and more IA heliborne assets will be pulled off CAS to take over recon and screening duties. Without fixed wing support the IA risks fighting the battle the hard way- force on force. Those heliborne assets will also be pulled off disproportionately since helicopters can't occupy their location and must return to base so constant observation requires a stead stream of fresh helos.

    Obvious avenues for improvement in Cold Star

    more training- you really can't be trained enough

    keep CS units fully manned and equipped. This gives them away but great cuts mobilization time.

    Fully developed inter-service plan, doctrine and utilization to help the IA achieve its goals, because if the IAF wins and the IA loses, India loses.
     
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  5. zraver

    zraver Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    If the evidence says that India probalby stands little chance of executing Cold Start as it exists in the public domain, is Cold Start real, or is it a giant fraud aimed at some other goal? If it has other goals is it successful?

    One of the obvious goals of Cold Start was to deter the ISI from further terrorist adventurism inside India. Although the Pakistani members here will lambast me, I think Mumbia proves the deterrent aspect failed.

    Maybe its really designed to give Indian border defenses some real oomph in case Pakistan invades. But given the disparity in conventional arms is a Pakistani invasion or more than a local level a real threat?

    Or perhaps Cold Start is close to what is claimed but subtly different. If the Indian Army can master mobilization and Indian nukes can deter Pakistani nukes, maybe Cold Start is just the first echelon of a wider conventional war where the threat of breakthrough towards Pakistani population centers is enough to force the PA to fight and then hopefully die, and with its defeat bring down the regime that precipitated the war by an act of terrorism or some other event. Even if the IA trades man for man and tank for tank with the PA India will win.

    If the Cold Start units can take a conventional war to Pakistan and last long enough for the rest of the IA to get into the fight they don't have to advance fast, they just have to advance and not get destroyed doing it and then as kilometer by kilometer they grind closer to a target the PA must defend the leaders in Islamabad must make a choice- give battle or not. If they don't the regime probably falls, if they give battle and lose the regime probably falls.

    The reason I think this is one oft repeated goal of India is how to break the average Pakistanis loyalty to and adoration of his army. That loyalty to the army provides political cover for the ISI which AFAIK is the real enemy India is aiming at.

    This is why after thinkig on it, I think Cold Start is just a way to buy time for the bulk of the IA to get set and on the move and to start the really important battles inside Pakistan. I don't think a rapid movement to avoid the chance of nukes is more than a smoke screen.

    Ultimately the chance of nuclear war can be managed by other means. A quiet message to the US and PRC that any use of strategic weapons by Pakistan in anyway will be seen by India as the start of a use it or lose it scenario. Nuclear blackmail is very effective in this regards.
     
  6. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    I think, Cold start explains (and is real ) that School of Indian defences are less comfortable with civil decisions made post every conflict and war, specifically with Pakistan. It explains how both two institutions are struggling to influence each other. I hope men in Defence will be able succeed to convince and implicate it fast.

    Furthermore Cold start is not intended to bully Pakistan. The defence think tanks are aware that there is no one who will care the same in Pakistan, so the relation between Mumbai attacks has nothing to do with failure in what india may be able to do on borders.
    But it is to twinkle international players interested in ignoring Pakistani mischiefs.

    By the course of time India has learnt, who can control Pakistan more then anyone but pakistan herself.
     
  7. enlightened1

    enlightened1 Member of The Month JANUARY 2010

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    NEW DELHI: The Army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of a possible `two-front war' with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, enhance strategic reach and joint operations with IAF and Navy.

    Work on the new war doctrine -- to reflect the reconfiguration of threat perceptions and security challenges -- is already underway under the aegis of Shimla-based Army Training Command, headed by Lt-General A S Lamba, said sources.

    It comes in the backdrop of the 1.13-million strong Army having practised -- through several wargames over the last five years -- its `pro-active' war strategy to mobilise fast and strike hard to pulverise the enemy.

    This `cold start strategy', under a NBC (nuclear-chemical-biological) overhang, emerged from the `harsh lessons' learnt during Operation Parakram, where it took Army's strike formations almost a month to mobilise at the `border launch pads' after the December 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

    This gave ample opportunity to Pakistan to shore up its defences as well as adequate time to the international community, primarily the US, to intervene. The lack of clear directives from the then NDA government only made matters worse.

    "A major leap in our approach to conduct of operations (since then) has been the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly)," said Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, at a closed-door seminar on Tuesday.

    The plan now is to launch self-contained and highly-mobile `battle groups', with Russian-origin T-90S tanks and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours.

    Gen Kapoor identified five thrust areas that will drive the new doctrine. One, even as the armed forces prepare for their primary task of conventional wars, they must also factor in the eventuality of `a two-front war' breaking out.

    In tune with this, after acquiring a greater offensive punch along the entire western front with Pakistan by the creation of a new South-Western Army Command in 2005, India is now taking steps -- albeit belatedly -- to strategically counter the stark military asymmetry with China in the eastern sector. There is now "a proportionate focus towards the western and north-eastern fronts", said Gen Kapoor.

    Two, the Army needs to `optimise' its capability to effectively counter `both military and non-military facets' of asymmetric and sub-conventional threats like WMD terrorism, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and information warfare.

    Three, the armed forces have to substantially enhance their strategic reach and out-of-area capabilities to protect India's geo-political interests stretching from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.

    "This would enable us to protect our island territories; as also give assistance to the littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region," said Gen Kapoor.

    Four, interdependence and operational synergy among Army, Navy and IAF must become the essence of strategic planning and execution in future wars. "For this, joint operations, strategic and space-based capability, ballistic missile defence and amphibious, air-borne and air-land operations must be addressed comprehensively," he said.

    And five, India must strive to achieve a technological edge over its adversaries. "Harnessing and exploitation of technology also includes integration of network centricity, decision-support systems, information warfare and electronic warfare into our operational plans," he added.

    Apart from analysing the evolving military strategy and doctrines of China and Pakistan, the Army is also studying the lessons learnt from the US-launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and their relevance to India.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The aim of the Cold Start was to ensure that there would be no requirement for mobilisation from the hinterland, which was immensely time consuming.

    It is to ensure that territory is captured but keeping below the Pakistani nuclear threshold.

    The IBGs are already located close to the border and are spread over along various points of the IB.

    In any war, there will be attrition and there is no going away from that.

    The Pakistani have two Army Reserves i.e. North and South. These are its Strike Formation.

    If IA attacks at multiple points speedily, accepting attrition, as its Strike Corps build up, it will divide the PA reserves.

    In so far as open flanks are concerned, one should always remember Patton's famous words - Let the enemy worry about its flanks. In other words, they are equally exposed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  9. karan

    karan New Member

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    Dear Mr Raider,
    Pl be careful of using words like victory and defeat when fighting an insurgency. It is not capture of areas that is imp, it is ensuring writ of the govt there that is the main challange. It really eats up tps, is nerve wrecking for the forces and a real drain on resources. Be ready for decades of dply if u want to contain the prob in SWAT and Waziristan. IA has begun to solve Nagaland and Manipur after decades of dply. Kashmir insurgency remains contained but not totally defeated yet, though it is on the verge of being finished. So u get the idea " He who speaks too early, Well, is a foo"l. We'll see the success of Pak forces in SWAT and Wazirisstan once its all over, eh?
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It is not for the mountains.
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The interesting part of Indo Pak conflicts is that there are ditches and canals just behind the International border or the Line of Control in the Plains sector. And such water obstacles are there successively, apart from minefields that are continuous and which will be encountered having been laid as soon as the war clouds are looming.

    All the defences are of a permanent nature and the forward ones are manned even of now.

    Therefore, the classical concept of advance is not there in actuality.
     
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  12. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Sir,
    Would we then, by most probabilities adopt a defensive posture in the mountains ?
    I ask, because if we are to achieve the Operational objectives within 72 hours, I am not able to think of an aggressive tactic in the mountains.
     
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Plains Warfare on the Western Front of ours encompassed a long mobilisation period since the troops are in peace stations and have to be brought up. Given the shortage of rakes and other administrative issues of the Railways, it is a cumbersome process. This long mobilisation gave away the strategic surprise as also allowed Pakistan to have the initiative since their forces hug the border including their Cants. I may add that one who has the initiative dictates the course of the war, till it is wrested from the one who is having the initiative and wresting the initiative is not an easy proposition. The Cold Start Doctrine resolves this mobilisation problem and the issues of strategic surprise and Pakistan having the initiative.

    Operational Objectives are not being achieved by 72 hours. As I understand it is only a shallow bridgehead that is being achieved and depending on the situation (military and international pressure), and the application of further forces will be decided as to whether the real Operational Objectives are to be undertaken.

    The issue of mobilisation and initiative is not so paramount in the mountains since the troops are deployed on the LC and LAC and reserves are at hand. Mountain Warfare is time consuming (as you must have seen as in Kargil) and therefore, mustering troops from elsewhere is feasible, depending upon the tactical situation all along the IB, the LC and the LAC. If one observes the 1965 and 1971 Wars. we have captured areas from the Pakistanis and therefore I am sure there are offensive plans. I might add because the mountain warfare is not as fast moving as plains warfare and because of the arduous terrain, it does not look very spectacular as would be the case of Plains Warfare. I daresay that in the Mountains, we will only be in the defensive. Offence is the best form of Defence!
     
  14. shuvo@y2k10

    [email protected] Senior Member Senior Member

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    it seems to me that pakistan is getting shivers only by the name of cold start.i wonder how would they react when we would actually implement it in a full scale war-which i think is not a thing of imagination of the future as long as pakistan's proxy war using terrorism against india continues. continues.seconldy whichever doctrine india follows indian armed forces will eventually establish a full fleged millitary victory over pakistan-since our forces are superior on all aspects on battlefied than them.we have shown our conventional superiority over them in all four wars and we are ready to do that in the future.the only way out for pakistan is as always has been to engage world power to compell us into a ceasefire as has been the case in 1965or try some nuclear blackmelling as in 1999.the cold start doctrine is mainly to counter such ploy by pakistan.also any nuclear strike on india by pakistan will lead india into a full scale nuclear war whickh will mean mutually assured destruction on both sides.
     
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  15. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Appreciate your thoughts shuvo, but i think you need to do a fair bit of reading on various matters. A lot has been posted on this forum on various topics by some of the best posters in the forum world. It would help you a lot.

    Just to tell you that india does enjoy a conventional superiority over pakistan, 65 was more ot less a stalemate. 71 was an overwhelming victory and kargil was not a full scale war. But its not that india will just steam roll into pakistan based on the conventional superiority.. A lot of factors are involved which you will learn only by reading a lot more.

    Nuclear weapons are not weapons of war but diplomacy. it will not come to that ever.
     
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  16. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    Why are you in a mis perception that Pakistan Armed Forces are sitting with 'hand on hand'

    Pakistani war games to test anti-cold start strategy
     
  17. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    To date, except 1971, we have not been able to gain a comprehensive victory over Pakistan. One of the reasons seems to be that though overall, the IA (in men and equipment) is about twice the size of the PA, it is deployed on two fronts, thus making it possible for only a rough parity to exist between the forces on the Pak border. Also, according to a recent paper I read on Cold Start, which can be found here:

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IS3203_pp158-190.pdf

    there are still many unresolved issues/obstacles to the full implementation of the doctrine. The doctrine is still in the experimental (wargaming) phase, and the full implementation is likely to take more than a decade at least. Also, the strength of the IA in terms of equipment and manpower will have to be raised dramatically if Cold Start is to succeed.
     
  18. gogbot

    gogbot Regular Member

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    well that's because of some key reasons

    all wars so far were in initiated by pre-emptive attacks by Pakistan, our troops always were on the defensive , to first defeat the Pakistani Offensive , one the Pak forces lost momentum from their opening strikes which took considerable time and effort . Only then could out troops then go on the offensive against a more defence Pakistani forces.That whole process more or less resulted in our troops getting bogged down near the border area's . Leading to attrition , eventually leading Pak to go on the defences and our troops to struggle against their dugouts Given the short nature of the conflict and limited logistics and communication those days , we could never push home our numerical advantage.
    This was one of the problems of the 1965

    also to note is the Air power of Pak and India was none to far apart , when to capabilities until 1971.

    It's obvious the clear winner of 1971 on the western front was decided by the air war.

    Air superiority allowed for a easy Bltz in the east , with nearly 60,000 troops surrendering

    Air dominance in the West , let us easily break the Pakistani offensive at the start , and quickly counter attack.



    agreed , many of the acquisitions by the IAF and IA through the decade point to plans at mobilising the strategy more effectively on the Field

    Something that was said in the original post.

    FINSAS and digitisation if all troop communication's to real tine data links for all troops to have access.
    Both these will reduce any possible errors that can occur
     
  19. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    Something i observed in recent PA excerises, M113 APCs equipped with Anti Tank Weapons, something atleast i never saw before

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  20. BunBunCake

    BunBunCake Regular Member

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    What tanks are those, Emo?
     

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