Friday, December 31, 2010

How India's Cold Start is Turning the Heat on Pakistan

By Rakesh Krishnan Simha , December 2010
Wikileaks shows Pakistan’s military brass is having nightmares about Cold Start, the Indian Army’s new blitzkrieg strategy. But will India finally end the Pakistan problem or destabilize the neighbourhood?

Pakistan’s army generals are known to walk with a swagger. They have reason to. After all, they have been ruling the country of over 200 million people like their personal fiefdom for over half a century. Also, they are in an exclusive club of one – Pakistan is the only Islamic country that possesses nuclear weapons. (Just don’t bring up the fact that these generals have lost four wars against India.) So why are they suddenly squirming after Wikileaks hit the ceiling?

According to a leaked cable, more than the al-Qaida, more than American drones or even a hostile Afghan government, what is scaring the living daylights out of the Pakistani generals is Cold Start – a brand new version of blitzkrieg being perfected by India. So deeply does it dread this war fighting doctrine that the Pakistani military has cranked up its production of nuclear weapons, sparking a nuclear arms race in the region?

So what exactly is Cold Start and how is it changing the military equation in this part of the world? Will this new doctrine of warfare offer India more options in combating Pakistani adventurism and rolling back Islamic terrorism? Or will it contribute to destabilising the region?

To get the sub continental drift, one has to look at the Pakistani military mindset. Each of the four wars – in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 – was launched by the Pakistani military, which factored in two key elements. One, despite their 0-4 record against India, it is drilled into Pakistani officers and soldiers that a Pakistani is equal to 10 Indians, and therefore India’s defences should quickly collapse. There is also the bizarre belief – eerily still a serious consideration at the highest echelons of Pakistani military decision making – that heavenly intervention will be a decisive factor in India’s defeat.

Secondly, Pakistan knows if its military thrusts fail, its patrons – the US and China – can be relied upon to bring in the United Nations, work the diplomatic back channels, get the world media to raise the alarm, and issue veiled threats, bringing intense pressure upon India to call off its counterattack.
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