Irrational Exuberance of Cold Start

Irrational Exuberance of Cold Start

In an escalating war of words- which, incidentally, has become rather thematic, in the Indo- Pak dynamic- the Pakistan Foreign Minister , Khwaja Asif, has responded to the Indian Air Force chief’s assertion that “ the Indian Armed forces were ready for a full spectrum operation against Pakistan’s nuclear installation” and stated that “ nobody should expect restraint from Pakistan if its nuclear assets/installations are attacked”. If cold logic is applied to the Indian chief marshal’s statement, his words, in reality, ring hollow. “Surgical strikes”, “full spectrum operations” are words that might sound good to those uttering them but, in this day and age, operationalizing these words and the concepts that flow from these are a non starter. This holds true in an India and Pakistan context where both adversaries are nuclear armed and the respective nuclear doctrines of both countries- especially Pakistan- do not warrant such irrational exuberance. India, to defuse the nuclear power and potential of Pakistan has formulated the “ Cold Start Doctrine” which, among other things meant, employing “ network centric warfare” and battle formations in unison across various defensive and offensive capabilities, to slice Pakistan’s territory and deny the country the nuclear option. But, this largely theoretical. Its practical application meets tremendous and almost impossible techniques of war undercut by Pakistan’s conventional, nuclear and tactical capabilities. Cold Start then or thus has remained a formulaic concept whose practical applicability is called into question. But, the technical details are not the actual issue. The real problem is the rhetorical flourishes of implied belligerence between India and Pakistan. Sobriety, prudence and a sense of proportion warrant that both countries not employ harsh and bellicose rhetoric. At times, what happens is that people or countries become victim of their own rhetoric and this, in turn , leads to situations spiraling out of control. If , indeed, the situation or condition(s) between India and Pakistan spins out of control, the only losers will be the people of South Asia and perhaps even the world. There will, given the nature of military and nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan no clear winners in a putative military confrontation between the two. While , in conventional military terms, India has an advantage, but this is cancelled out by Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. Throw the China factor into the mix or equation and the overall balance of power becomes almost even or symmetric. In the final analysis, it is diplomacy and prudent statecraft that should define the relations between India and Pakistan. Resolving the conflict in and over Kashmir must be central to this.

3 Responses to "Irrational Exuberance of Cold Start"

  1. G. Din   October 10, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    If only wishes were horses……

  2. Ramdila   October 9, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    CSD is real and India is working on multiple options to attack Pakistan. Indian army chief and other prominent officials have already pledged their intentions to attack Pakistan. Yet any kind of mistake will result into India’s devastation and it will be wiped out by Pakistan’s nukes. Pakistan is ready to deal any threat.

  3. Rabia   October 9, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    For a layman, the Cold Start doctrine aims to deny Pakistan justification to resort to its nuclear first-use option by inflicting rapid, fatal and limited attacks. Indian strategists themselves explained in various papers that the plan would be initiated by eight “battle divisions”, comprising 30,000 to 50,000 troops, including independent armoured and mechanised brigades. Pakistan has developed short-range nuclear weapons as a counter to the ‘Cold Start’ military doctrine.