What is India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine?
India’s ‘Cold War doctrine,’ or ‘Proactive Strategy’+ as the Indian Army calls it, is aimed at making swift and hard inroads into enemy territory, specifically Pakistan. To prevent the outbreak of a nuclear war, such strikes will be ‘limited’ and ‘calibrated’.
How quickly can the strike be mobilized under this doctrine?
Enemy territory can be struck within 72-96 hours of the directive.
Why did India feel the need for such a strategy?
The idea for the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine was fuelled by Operation Parakram, launched after the terror attack on Parliament in December 2001.
The operation exposed major operational gaps in India’s offensive power, including slow troop mobilisation along the border.
After the attack, Indian strike corps took almost a month to reach the border. This gave Pakistan enough time to take counter-measures, and for the US to pressurize the then-NDA government to back off.
In 2009, then-Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said that “a major leap in our approach to conduct of operations has been the successful firming-in of the ‘Cold Start’ strategy.”
In January 2017, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said, “Future wars will be short and intense. So, one has to be prepared to move and mobilise fast.”
How did the world react to news of India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine?
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, in 2016, reported that the country “views India’s cold start doctrine as a real threat.” The Indian strategy has “compelled Pakistan to take suitable deterrence measures,” it quoted a Pakistani nuclear expert as saying.
At the fourth Nuclear Security Summit the same year, then-US President Obama cautioned India and Pakistan+ against “continually moving in the wrong direction,” even as they develop military doctrines.
Times of India.com