Pakistan War Games: Thwarting Indian Cold Start Strategy


Pakistan War Games: Thwarting Indian Cold Start Strategy

Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:

  • These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border,” Major-General Muzamil Hussain, director-general of army training, told a news briefing.
  • Pakistan’s army will launch its biggest manoeuvres in 20 years next week to deal with the threat of conventional war with old rival India, military officials said on Monday.
  • “These exercises will be focused only on conventional war on the eastern border,” Major-General Muzamil Hussain, director-general of army training, told a news briefing.
  • Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said India had been informed of the exercise.
  • The army conducted its biggest-ever exercises involving 200,000 soldiers in 1989.
  • The wargame, to begin on April 10 and continue till May 13, will be the largest manoeuvres conducted by the army since the Zarb-e-Momin exercise in 1989.
  • The wargame will be conducted in Punjab and Sindh provinces, which border India, officials said.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Pakistan’s military will on Saturday launch war games allowing thousands of troops to road test new tactics near its eastern border with India, a military official said.

“The exercise is aimed at validating and refining newly evolved doctrines,” the head of the army’s military training directorate, Muzammil Hussain, told foreign media in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad.

The “Azm-e-Nau-3″ or New Resolve exercise will mobilise 20,000 troops in the beginning, rising to 40,000 to 50,000 towards the end, he said.

The exercises will involve all branches of the military, including the air force, and will focus on the possibility of “conventional war on the country’s eastern border,” Hussain said.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been bedevilled by an atmosphere of mistrust and tensions over the unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

  • During the exercises, plans prepared for prevention of terrorist attacks will be implemented and capabilities of Pakistan army in times of peace as well as war will be improved.
  • Furthermore, attention will be given to communication, intelligence information and modern technology.
  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Nuclear deterrence & Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) blunts Bharat’s Cold Start Strategy
  • Why India did not attack Pakistan in 2002 and 2008?
  • The India-Pakistan war
  • Delhi’s Cold Start Strategy Frozen DOA (Dead on Arrival)
  • Responding to the “Surgical Strikes”: Neutralizing Delhi’s Cold Start strategy:
  • Pakistani response to “India’s Cold start strategy”: Limited strikes against targets vs Hot War leading to Nuclear Armageddon
  • Indian Airforce crying wolf? or facing shortage of jets?
  • India’s Cold War strategy guarantees hot war—Nuclear annihilation

Last February, the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours held their first official talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks …

Under US pressure, Pakistan has diverted troops … — although the establishment still sees India as the primary threat.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence in 1947 — two of them over the fate of the Himalyan territory of Kashmir.

“We cannot remain oblivious to what happens on our eastern borders,” Hussain told reporters.

“Pakistan desires peace and security both within and beyond,” he said, adding that maintaining peace and security is the army’s “key strategic policy”.

  • The six-week field exercise will involve troops from all arms and services and aircraft and equipment of the Pakistan Air Force, he said.
  • “The exercise is the culmination of a long and deliberate process of wargames, discussions and logical evolution of the concept of warfare that is fully responsive to a wide range of emerging threats,” Hussain said.
  • The exercise is also aimed at validating and refining tactics and operations, he said.
  • It will validate concepts formulated during the year of training initiated by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, he added.
  • A special feature of the exercise will be the use of technological achievements and advancement in intelligence-gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication.
  • These measures will reduce the reaction time of troops, Hussain said.
  • The essence of the Cold Start doctrine is reorganising the army’s offensive power that resides in the three strike corps into eight smaller division-sized integrated battle groups (IBGs) consisting of armour and mechanised infantry and artillery, closely supported by helicopter gunships, air force and airborne troops (parachute and heliborne).
  • The IBGs are to be positioned close to the border so that three to five are launched into Pakistan along different axes within 72 to 96 hours from the time mobilisation is ordered.
  • Cold Start thus envisages rapid thrusts even when the defensive corps’ deployment is yet to be completed, and high-speed operations conducted day and night until the designated objectives are achieved
  • The probable objective areas for Cold Start could be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor from two directions, an IBG along Jammu-Sialkot-Daska axis and another across the Ravi to link up with the first IBG, and (2) in the south against Reti-Rahim Yar Khan-Kashmore complex.
  • To counter Cold Start, the Pakistan Army will have to create more armour-dominated brigade-sized reserves from the existing resources if possible, and a more flexible military system and structure.
  • For Pakistan the dimensions of time and space assume paramount importance as it lacks territorial depth, is opposed by a larger adversary and lacks the resources to fight a protracted war.
  • The strategy of pre-emption is thus imposed on Pakistan in the same way it was imposed on Israel prior to the 1967 war.
  • The fact that the Pakistani Army can occupy their wartime locations earlier than the Indian army confers on it the ability to pre-empt Cold Start;
  • failure to do so could lead to firing of low-yield tactical warheads at IBGs as they cross the start line or even earlier

SAMAA/AGENCIES

Until 2004 the Indian army’s strategic thought envisaged the deployment of seven corps in defensive role and three corps in offensive role each built around an armoured division supported by mechanised infantry and artillery. After the defensive corps had blunted Pakistani attacks, the strike corps would undertake counter-offensive operations aimed at the destruction of the Pakistan Army’s two strategic reserves also built around an armoured division.

After Operation Parakaram the Indian army concluded that this doctrine was inflexible because of the huge size of the strike corps — they have long deployment times, are difficult to manoeuvre, while their concentration in the forward areas gives away the general strategic direction they would adopt. And above all, the doctrine inhibited a quick response to challenges posed by acts like the attack on the Indian parliament (and seven years later in Mumbai).

As a consequence, in 2004 the Indian army announced the development of a new limited war doctrine called Cold Start to respond to what it calls proxy wars by Pakistan. It would seek to inflict significant damage on the Pakistan Army before the international community could intervene on Pakistan’s behalf, while at the same time ensuring that the conflict did not escalate to a level where Pakistan was tempted to use nuclear weapons.

The essence of the Cold Start doctrine is reorganising the army’s offensive power that resides in the three strike corps into eight smaller division-sized integrated battle groups (IBGs) consisting of armour and mechanised infantry and artillery, closely supported by helicopter gunships, air force and airborne troops (parachute and heliborne). The IBGs are to be positioned close to the border so that three to five are launched into Pakistan along different axes within 72 to 96 hours from the time mobilisation is ordered.

Cold Start thus envisages rapid thrusts even when the defensive corps’ deployment is yet to be completed, and high-speed operations conducted day and night until the designated objectives are achieved.

In a war limited by time, mobility is the single-most important factor which if used to its full potential will help attain the political aim in the desired time and space framework. But this requires a perfect matching of the physical means of mobility with the mobility of the mind, as the value of a highly mobile force can be reduced to zero by commanders whose minds are characterised by lack of imagination, initiative and flexibility. “Adherence to dogmas has destroyed more armies and lost more battles and lives than any other cause in war. No man of fixed opinions can make a good general.” (J.F.C. Fuller)

In the 1965 war the Indian 1 Corps, spearheaded by the 1st Armoured Division, had penetrated seven miles only into Pakistani territory in Sialkot sector in 21 days, while in the 1971 war, the same corps having about eight tank units did marginally better by penetrating eight miles in 14 days, that too when opposed by light covering troops. In both wars the Indian army was schematic in its operations. Changes in dispositions such as forming a new defensive line, reassigning of objectives, switching forces not in accordance with their original plan, took time. Above all, their commanders at all levels lacked enterprise, imagination and initiative.

Given this, while Cold Start is a sound concept, though not original, the Indian war directors need to question the ability of their commanders at all levels to execute it efficiently and sustain the advantage gained from striking first. The “law of the initial advantage of the aggressor” assumes critical importance, as it is the aggressor who generally sets the pattern which operations will take. The Germans in the Second World War and the Israelis in the 1956 and 1967 wars had translated the concept of blitzkrieg, characterised by surprise, speed and concentration, with devastating results against numerically superior forces because they had a flair for conducting high-speed operations with flexibility, rapidity and less military routine.

The probable objective areas for Cold Start could be (1) Ravi-Chenab corridor from two directions, an IBG along Jammu-Sialkot-Daska axis and another across the Ravi to link up with the first IBG, and (2) in the south against Reti-Rahim Yar Khan-Kashmore complex. To counter Cold Start, the Pakistan Army will have to create more armour-dominated brigade-sized reserves from the existing resources if possible, and a more flexible military system and structure.

For Pakistan the dimensions of time and space assume paramount importance as it lacks territorial depth, is opposed by a larger adversary and lacks the resources to fight a protracted war. The strategy of pre-emption is thus imposed on Pakistan in the same way it was imposed on Israel prior to the 1967 war. The fact that the Pakistani Army can occupy their wartime locations earlier than the Indian army confers on it the ability to pre-empt Cold Start; failure to do so could lead to firing of low-yield tactical warheads at IBGs as they cross the start line or even earlier.

Cold Start would be a portent of escalation, and inevitably a disaster for both. It is a doctrine that challenges both countries. The writer is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan Army. javedhussainpa@yahoo.com

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