India has told the United States that, contrary to speculation, it doesn’t have a ‘cold start’ doctrine for invading Pakistan within days of any conflict breaking out.
The ‘cold start’ doctrine is a version of World War II’s ‘blitzkrieg’ principle, under which India would mobilize within four days against Pakistan, rather than taking the minimum two months believed to be required to move a substantial invasion force to the eastern border.
The doctrine was mentioned following ‘Operation Parakram’ in December 2001, when Indian troops were mobilized after the Indian Parliament was attacked by Pakistani terrorists.
The previous Indian army chief, Deepak Kapoor, alluded to ‘cold start’ and the possibility of fighting a ‘limited war under a nuclear overhang’, comments which angered Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan used these comments to justify its refusal of American requests to move the bulk of its troops to the east to fight the Taliban.
According to reports, the US asked for clarification from India about ‘cold start’, a doctrine that the Indian Army denied was central to its considerations.
In a press interview, Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh said simply, ‘There is nothing called “Cold Start.” As part of our overall strategy, we have a number of contingencies and options, depending on what the aggressor does. In recent years, we’ve been improving our systems with respect to mobilization, but our basic military posture is defensive.’