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September 30, 2011

Cold Start Doctrine and Pakistan’s counter- measures: theory of Strategic Equivalence-III


September 30, 2011

The aim of the new war fighting doctrine is to increase the Indian military strike options for possibly retaliatory or pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan without invoking the Pakistani nuclear threshold aiming to create conditions of a limited war. The success envisages an increase in the Indian military options based on a contingency situation where Indian armed forces can have sufficient military success that can be used to achieve limited political objectives before an international intervention or the conflict turns nuclear. Consequently the doctrine requires the re-division of the Indian army from the existing three major strike corps into eight integrated battle groups (IBGs) beefed up by the mechanised, artillery and armoured divisions. The aim is to launch multiple strikes within seventy two hours of the first strike, approximately 50-70 km inside Pakistani territory, with close support of the air and naval components, if a need may be. Furthermore, CSD would entail combined operations between India’s three services and integrated battle groups for offensive actions against Pakistan without crossing Pakistan’s nuclear threshold.
The main characteristics of the CSD are;
? Element of surprise.
? Integration among the armed forces.
? Quick and swift Day/Night operations.
? Combine operation as mechanized infantry, self-propelled artillery and armour.
? Close air support/ massive fire power.
? Pivot corps (holding corps) would act offensively.
? Aims would be limited.
? Major offensive to be launched in the first 72/96 hours for IBGs to enter Pakistani territory and achieve primary objectives.
? Robust Command and Control.
? Strikes below the Pakistan’s nuclear threshold.
? To have a politico-military superiority in the interest of India.
Implications & Reponses
Strategic stability means the absence of conflict, war, and balance derives from the broader needs, desires, concerns and national interests of state

parties vis-a-vis their military objectives.
In the search of strategic stability there are three approaches: first, to exercise and manipulate threat through deterrence; second, the management of vulnerability through the assurance of safety, security and command and control; and third, the management of threat through arms control and confidence-building and threat reduction measures. All these are challenged by the new Indian cold start doctrine.
The CSD has a large scale repercussions for the regional and international security. The possibility of a growing prospect of an arms race in South Asia is further exacerbated by the existing nuclear relationship. The introduction of the doctrine has solicited a Pakistani response and would be followed by the Pakistani counter measures as it would aim for strategic equivalence with India based on the concept of minimum credible deterrence.”
Although the current Pakistani response and conventional reconfiguration under Azm-e-Nau is solid, nonetheless, given the fact that the military budget of the two countries is 35 billion vs 4 billion and is like to have 80 per cent operationalisation by year 2010. There is a need to draw further into what are response options available to Pakistan in the realm of the nuclear deterrence theory and whether the CSD has the ability to create a gap between conventional and nuclear deterrence. The battle effectiveness of the Pakistani capability is one such aspect. The contention is that it will erode nuclear deterrence as may make the use of strategic nuclear weapons irremediable during conflict, therefore, there is need to reconsider Pakistan’s deterrence posture.
To-date the Pakistani deterrence posture is based on minimum credible deterrence and centralised command and control and strategy value targeting. With the shift in the conventional military doctrine to smaller offensive units the problem is four fold, and requires a revisit on all issues regarding deterrence stability through credibility, communicability and capability.
National resolve plays a critical role in the final outcome of any war, however, the nuclear capability affords that the next wars may not be fought on the rationale of the fourth generation warfare. As this is neither 1965 nor 1971 where the cessation of war would lead to cessation of hostility at all levels. The end of war may see the beginning of war.
Theory of Integrated Strategic Equivalence
The theory of minimum credible deterrence is to be strengthened by adding credibility to the second strike capability and through a changed military posture. The theory is called Integrated Strategic Equivalence, as the basic assumption is to ensure that the element of surprise and technological advantage or battlefield integration of systems does not shift the balance towards the offensive or war. It implies following:-
? Partial decentralisation of the tactical range nuclear capable weapons (100-300km) and sub-critical tactical weapons with reduced radiation levels and enhanced EMP fallouts can act as force multipliers.
? Nuclear integration at force level that means the delegations of powers to the command level for deployment and employment.
? Mobility and counter measure to support partial deployment of assets at the command level.
? Maintaining centralised control of strategic nuclear weapons (300-3500km) upto1000 kg payload.
? Create Reverse Threshold through selective target engagement on the Indian side; initiated by the activation of cold start with first ring of targeting to be geared against the extended line of communication links of India. Create second ring of escalation through reverse targeting and use of tactical nuclear weapons against the offensive corps/command control centres (target lock on) and third ring of escalation through target selection of contour value targets.
? This will require force management and mechanisation at the command levels in Pakistan as their creation can provide a basis for second level of delegation.
? This will free the policy makers to have initiative dominance of the battlefield while maintaining control and decision at the strategic level.
? This would enable the command to deal with threat from one level at the strategic/national level.
? This is supported by electronic warfare component; which would target the network centric capability being developed, possessed and evolved by future threats to Pakistan. This will allow Pakistan to reduce the element of surprise.
To create, develop and deployment of fourth generation nuclear (sub-critical weapons for indication of intent; resolve and credibility of nuclear use and deterrence. These will act as force multipliers and operational and strategic equitant. This will create the element of surprise
The author is Director General South Asia Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI)

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