Rethinking Pakistan's Defense Doctrine


Senior Member
Aug 28, 2009
In 1989 Pakistan Army conducted the largest exercise of its history. The need for Zerb e Momin was felt due to threats emerging from India and response to Sunjerji Doctrine which brought Pakistan India near to war in 1986-87. This exercise not only validated Pakistan Army's new Doctrine but also gave a clear signal to India that any Indian aggression will be dealt with swift and brutal response.

General Krishna Swami Sunjerji can rightly be called as one of the best minds Indian army ever had. He belonged to Mahar regiment of Indian army. In addition to his military skills he was also known for his intellect. Sunjerji realized the importance of RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs) and impact of it on modern day battle field. Sunjerji was provided with opportunity to study RMA and to be part of a small team for reorganizing the Indian army, especially with regard to technology by Gen. KV Krishna Rao. Sunjerji was very impressed by German Blitzkrieg doctrine. He loved mechanized and armor movements and maneuvers due to their speed and ferocity. Basing on this he gave Indian army its new doctrine also known as sunderji's doctrine.

Sunjerji doctrine called for a set of Holding Corps situated close to the borders to hold off against an advancing enemy and a set of strike corps that would mobilize to deliver massive conventional retaliation. Which according to him would lead to the complete neutralization of the enemy?

In November 1986 Indian Army launched its biggest exercises in Rajistan Desert very close to Pakistani border. At one point Indian troops deployed along Pakistani border reached 4 hundred thousand. This level of Armor and Mechanized Forces near Pakistani border made Pakistan Alert. The statements coming out from India enforced Pakistan's threat perceptions and in response Pakistan was forced to mobilize its forces. It was expected that India was planning to cut Pakistani into two cutting Sind from Punjab. To counter this Indian move Pakistani Forces were deployed and concentrated along Punjab border and Working boundary where traditionally India is week(At present India has Raised a New Army command to defend its vulnerabilities at Chicken Neck/ Working Boundary Area). It was soon realized by Adventurous Sunjerji that his moves were effectively checked mated by Pakistanies and there was a huge chance that his adventure will change into nuclear exchange (Pakistan Coal tested its Nuclear device in 1984 and got capability to deliver it in next 2 years) . International Community especially US, who was engaged in Afghan Jihad against soviets Pressurized India and At Last Tensions defused.

After the de-escalations need for new Pakistani counter doctrine was realized. New concepts to counter Indian Army were developed and were tested in Pakistan's biggest military exercise in its short history code named Zerb e Momin. Almost three corps, two armored brigades, two artillery divisions, one air defense division and the Pakistan Air Force took part in this exercise. 14 new concepts were tested; many vital lessons were learnt.

It was during the exercise Zarb-e-Momin-89 that the Air-Land warfare concept was tried out for the first time on a very large scale. Plans were integrated at both the headquarters and field formations level. The Northern Air Command (NAC) and corresponding Corps (8B and 18B) interacted in order to understand each other's requirements at the strategic and tactical levels before finalizing the air support plans.

After the conclusion of Zerb e Momin Pakistan army and Air force came out as more confident and integrated forces. In 1990 a New Intifada begun in Kashmir and this time it was more bloody and intense then any intifada of the past. Pakistan and India once again came near to war but this time again deterrence and Pakistan Army preparedness played its part and tensions defused.

India blame Pakistan for its troubles in Kashmir which is funny in a way that if Kashmiri Population is happy with conduct of Indian state then how come it is giving the Insurgents freedom and support to fight Indian state forces. In fact Indian Union from the beginning discriminated with Muslim majority Kashmiries which resulted in not one but many Intifadas for independence from Indian rule. Any student of History can realize that troubles in Kashmir are result of Indian acts in occupied Valley. Shopian Murder case is just a very small example to understand why Kashmiri hate India and why India has to put more than seven hundred thousand troops in a small valley (Remember Pakistan army is near 6 hundred thousands).

In 1998 India detonated 5 nuclear devices and immediately tone from Delhi visibly changed. Indian Politicians and Military commanders started giving open threats to teach Pakistan a lesson. LoC in Kashmir became hot due to Indian bombardments and un-provoked firing. The tone of Indians gave impression that if Pakistan does not reply in same tone India will attack (Anybody can See the Indian News Papers of 1998 and confirm what I have said).

Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests in response to those of Indians in May 1998 and became overt Nuclear Power. Pakistani Scientists worked day and night and brought credibility to Pakistan's deterrence by building Ghori, Shaheen and Tipu missiles. Pakistan soon reached 2nd strike capability hall mark when Pakistani Navel chief Nouman Bashir revealed that Pakistan has developed SLM which are capable to take nuclear war heads.

In 1999 reports in Indian media started coming about Pakistani offensives in Northern Kashmir when there were no such hostilities. Pakistani military Leadership perceived it as softening of Public opinion and start of battle procedure by Indian army for aggression against Pakistan in Kashmir. A year back in 1998 Indians foolishly under Intoxication of Power had loudly boasted their Intensions and there was enough evidence which enforced Pakistani Threat Perception about Indian intensions in Kashmir. To preempt any Indian aggression an old plan chalked out in early 80's to counter Indian aggression in Siachen was given life. Some of the elite forces and those of Northern Light Infantry were infiltrated across LoC at Kargil and Drass Secter which in Indian army every year leave due to extreme cold.

In summer when Indians came back to re occupy they were well come by Pakistani troops waiting for their hunt( Kargil was Part of Pakistani Azad Kashmir prior to 1965 war , it was only Secter in Kashmir where Indians made gains in 1965 war). Kargil Operation was a complete Strategic Surprise for India. Pakistani Forces were controlling Srinager - Leh Road with direct fire making Leh corps very vulnerable. If Pakistani Political leadership had shown some strength whole Corps could have thrown weapons and would have become POW.

After the initial surprise India launched massive propaganda offensive along with Military offensive (on Kargil Dras Secters). It used state of the art weaponry to get back the positions taken by hand full Pakistani troops but when its might failed India started threatening all out war. The world which was under shock due to overt nuclearization became scared of the possibility of nuclear war in South Asia (Pakistan did in 1999 what Indians did in early 80's in Siachen but world failed to Take notice). Under International Pressure Pakistani Political leadership gave in and unilaterally ordered its troops to with draw. During whole operation Pakistani losses were very low but during Unilateral cease fire Indians inflicted maximum damage.

Kargil was success or a failure it depends on which side you stand. I believe it was success as it revealed the vulnerabilities of India forces and level of professionalism. It was a strategic surprise. At operational level it was failure of both Indian intelligence and military. At Tactical level as Pakistani troops were on heights and in defensive positions they were able to inflict heavy casualties to attacking Indians hence demoralizing the whole Indian army. The proof can be seen in Operation Porakaram where Indian forces failed in every field and 1800 Indian soldier died in maneuvers without firing a single shot.

In 2002-3 Pakistan and India again came face to face when Terrorists attacked Kashmiri and Indian Lok Saba. Matters got so serious that within weeks thousands of Indian as well as Pakistani troops were deployed on the border eye ball to eye ball. This operation of Indian deployment was called operation Porakaram.

This exercise or military tensions revealed draw backs of Indian war doctrine and Indian army which was working on revision of Sunderji Doctrine came out with new concept of war based on Latest method of warfare popularly known as Information or Network Based concept of warfare.

This new war doctrine was revealed in army commander's conference in April 2004. As discussed earlier this new doctrine is based on Network centric concept of warfare in order to understand what Cold Start means we have to understand what network centric warfare is. In words of Wikipedia

Network-centric warfare, now commonly called network-centric operations, is a new military doctrine or theory of war pioneered by the United States Department of Defense.

It seeks to translate an information advantage, enabled in part by information technology, into a competitive warfighting advantage through the robust networking of well informed geographically dispersed forces.[1] This networking, combined with changes in technology, organization, processes, and people - may allow new forms of organizational behavior.

Specifically, the theory contains the following four tenets in its hypotheses:[2]

A robustly networked force improves information sharing;

Information sharing enhances the quality of information and shared situational awareness;

Shared situational awareness enables collaboration and self-synchronization, and enhances sustainability and speed of command; and

These, in turn, dramatically increase mission effectiveness.

According to Kapalia's Article on South Asia Analysis web site popularly known as think tank in which ex Indian intelligence officials work and represents Indian Intelligence mind set. Cold Start is copy of US strategy of invasion in Iraq. It is based on Shock and awe doctrine made possible by Information /Network enabled capabilities. Kapalia reveals that the doctrine is Pakistan centric and is offensive oriented. Its focus is on destroying Pakistani capabilities in Lightening action with close coordination of Air, Land and Navel forces not holding territory. The doctrine also predicts that future war will be of short duration and in days results will be achieved. For further information on cold start read my essay
From Cold Start to AZM-e- NOU III and
کولڈ سٹارٹ سے عزم نو تھری تک
Since 2003 Pakistan army is engaged in counter terrorism on its western borders. In 2008 again after Mombi terror attacks India and Pakistan came near to war. Although Pakistani government condemned the attacks and offered India help but Indian leadership as usual showed conceit and no talking attitude. Pakistan is victim of terrorism itself and government and people acknowledge that it was blunder committed by them when they joined Afghan jihad against soviets and after soviet with drawl their support to extremists was also a blunder. Pakistan is reaping fruits of its blunders and has lost thousands of its sons in war against extremists. No one has sacrificed more than Pakistan in this war on terrorism. This is what India has to realize.
Because Pakistan is anti thesis of Bharat Versha or Maha Baharat that's why anyone can see only hate in Indian press , media and common man against Pakistan. That's also why whenever India has chance it do everything to hurt Pakistan and Pakistanies.

After the announcement of cold start India Army conducted many exercises at army level to validate new concept and use of modern high fi gadgetry and weapons.
Pakistani forces engaged in counter terrorism in western border had to take notice of Indian threats especially those by high level Indian generals. With limit resources and big reservoir of motivation and commitment Pakistani strategists devised counter strategy to Cold Start. This new concept to counter Cold Start doctrine was tested in two war games Azm e Nou 1 and II the deductions are now tested practically in Azm e Nou III exercise whose first Phase ended few days ago.
Pakistani troops were divided in two opposing forces namely Fox Land (Enemy) and Blue Land Army. Air force is also participating in these exercises giving close support to both armies.
Attack on blue land started with Massive air strike by Fox land Air force followed by Blitzkrieg attack of Fox land forces. Blue land not only absorbed the impact of Fox land Assault but also displayed well coordinated and professionally executing dispersion techniques.
After absorbing and halting the fox land assault Blue land forces conducted a counter offensive inflicting heavy damage to invading enemy forces.
During Azm e Nou III phase one impressive display of all arms fire was also arranged in Cholistan desert which was witnessed by Prime Minister, Army chief along with Officials of friendly states. According to ISPR press release on 15 April Pakistan Army has become Network enabled force. This means Pakistan army has also adopted Network centric warfare method of war fare and has become capable of conducting operations according to the concept.
Interesting thing about this exercise is that unlike Zerb e Momin exercise, in this exercise Forces executed counter offensive instead of Counter attacks meaning that there is shift in Pakistani concepts of war. Secondly in this exercise Pakistani forces displayed their capability to shoot down drones.
Summing up Pakistan is a small country as compare to India. Although Pakistan wants peace with India and cooperation against terrorism but India has proven itself a bully any neutral person can see that since 1947 how India created problems for Pakistan. Instead of acting like a big brother it acted like a bully to many times smaller Pakistan. Presently from TTP to unrest in Balochistan there is clear evidence of Indian involvement. India is so much anti Pakistan that it even un diplomatically declared their Cold Start Strategy specifically against Pakistan.
Every free nation has right of self defense. Pakistan may be small but has displayed its capability and resolve not to bow in front of India.
Azm e Nou III is demonstration of same resolve that although we have less weapons and gadgetry as compare to India but nation and its forces have resolve and commitment to counter any Indian aggression weather its cold start or hot start or what ever. Pakistani commitment to war on terror does not mean that we are off guard on our eastern border.

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