What is India’s Cold Start doctrine?

What is India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine

  • The ‘Cold Start’ doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces envisages swift deployment of troops on the western border within days if a situation of a full-blown war arises.
  • This doctrine aims to allow Indian forces to conduct sustained attacks while preventing a nuclear retaliation from Pakistan.
  • The operation would be carried out by a unified battle group involving various branches of India’s military.
  • It was after the conclusion of Operation Parakram in the year 2002, a military standoff between India and Pakistan, that the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine began to find a place in the Indian military setup. In the 2002 standoff, which was a result of the attack on Parliament by Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants, the Indian Army took almost two months to be able to mobilise and deploy troops on the Pakistan border.
  • Defence strategists began talking about the new doctrine of the Indian Army that would enable it to deploy a full strength invasion force within a few days notice, unlike several weeks of preparation that were required earlier.
  • This doctrine moved away from the defensive strategies employed by the Indian military since the country’s independence in 1947.
  • It aimed at reducing the time required to mobilise troops and develop a network-centric warfare, one enabled by information technology to ensure well-planned geographical distribution of forces.
  • Also, the combat strategy was to involve limited armoured thrusts with infantry and necessary air support.
  • The Cold Start doctrine sought to prepare the army in such a manner that offensive operations could be undertaken within 48 hours of the orders being issued, enabling the Indian troops to take their Pakistani counterparts by surprise.


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