It is a good summary. I have a few issues that one could clarify to make it a comprehensive document. I think you have done a wonderful start, even if it is not 'cold'
"An Evaluation of the Indian Army's "Cold Start" Doctrine
The Indian Army has recently unveiled a new war-fighting doctrine termed "Cold Start". This doctrine envisages a rapid and integrated initiation of combat operations by all three services, and involves development of "integrated battle groups" comprising of army, air force, and naval formations to execute it."
Question: How will the IAF sanitise the air as the battle break takes off, contacts, overcomes opposition both mobile and the enemy node and then allows the battle groups to progress beyond? What would be the complementary roles and mutual assistance of the ground forces and the air? What will the role of Network Centric Operations and so on?
"This newly proposed doctrine has several merits; it borrows from tested war-fighting doctrines of countries with modern and well integrated armed forces."
Question: Which? It will help others to understand who know of these foreign doctrines. One could amplify these doctrines very sketchily if desired.
"The fundamental power of a cold start doctrine stems from the recognition of the temporal dimension as a decisive factor in modern conflicts, especially those fought with a nuclear backdrop. A rapid response is essential for robbing the opponent of initiative, and for ensuring that all subsequent enemy responses are forced and dictated by the evolution of own combat operations and political initiatives. By dictating the opponent's responses, Cold Start acts as a mechanism of escalation dominance and seeks to reduce the possibilities of a conflict spiralling out of control."
Qyestion: An amplification would be in order.
"The Indian Army's embrace of rapid operations concepts is not a new development - elements of this strategy were tested in exercises and war games held in 2000 and 2001. Exercise Vijay Chakra, held in the plains of Rajasthan in 2000, involved night-time air dropping of a parachute company with armoured combat vehicles, to test how airborne operations can be used to increase the pace of combat deployment. Exercise Bhramastra was held later that year as a brainstorming exercise between the leadership of the three services, to determine how individual service operations and doctrines could be synthesized. However, some key doctrinal differences emerged through this session, which will be discussed later. The army further tested elements of this doctrine in 2001 through Exercise Poorna Vijay, which involved an air drop of a full parachute battalion as well as day-night operations by I Strike Corps."
Question: What is the connection? Is it anything novel? If so, how?
"The deliberations on a cold start doctrine for the army were given further impetus by the experience of Operation Parakram, the full-scale deployment of India's armed forces after the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament on 13 December 2001. Operation Parakram saw the IAF being deployed to combat stations in a matter of days; the bulk of the Indian Army was moved to the western theatre of operations in two to three weeks. Subsequent reports have tried to portray the movement of the army formations as ponderous, but these reports downplay the surprise and concern felt by the Pakistani military at the rapidity of movement of massive division and corps level formations over hundreds of kilometers. The reality was that the movement by key elements of II Strike Corps was rapid enough to prompt US intervention and caused the removal of the commander who authorized their deployment. The smoothness of the deployment exercise undoubtedly contributed to the Indian Army's confidence in its abilities to initiate rapid deployments and operations."
Comment: That's as per folks is not the reason for the sidestepping. Rapid Deployment is the raison d'être for the Corps.
"However, unexpectedly rapid deployment was not sufficient to permit political initiative to be retained on the Indian side. There was a significant element not related to the actual speed of the movement that contributed to this loss of political initiative: the Indian response was very predictable, and conformed to the widely known pattern of deploying the three strike corps to signal Indian intentions. It is difficult to say with any certainty whether the Indian government intended to use the massive deployment as a bargaining tool in itself or whether the deployment was really a precursor to all-out war. In either case, the actual experience showed that India's intentions were gauged principally by the movement of the readily identified and tracked strike formations. Predictability can be a virtue in diplomatic signalling, but it can have deadly drawbacks when the shooting begins. After the first few weeks, the army lost any element of surprise, and had to rely on a massive redeployment and an unprecedented concentration of three strike corps in Rajasthan to retain strategic initiative and coercive leverage."
Comment: Not understood.
"The key lesson of Operation Parakram, therefore, was that predictability of deployment was a significant weakness of the Indian response strategy. The Cold Start doctrine seeks to make the deployment less predictable by taking the onus of attack away from the strike corps and placing it on the forward deployed "holding" corps of the army. Under the new dispensation, the army components of the battle groups would presumably operate under the command of the holding corps, and be deployed in smaller units that are based much closer to the border."
"Having key attack elements deployed much closer to the border reduces deployment time in two significant ways: the deployment distances are reduced; equally importantly, logistics requirements for the initial attack force are also reduced. The intended military objects are better masked by having a larger number of smaller units dispersed across the likely theatre of operations, and the inherent rigidity of having a predetermined objective (such as reaching the Indus) is replaced by the flexibility of being able to choose a breach for further exploitation. The unpredictability as well as increased pace of deployment and initiation of combat operations aids in retaining political and military initiative by controlling the decision making and response cycle of the opponent as well as concerned international opinion."
Comment: How? Amplification is essential.
"While full development of integrated battle groups envisaged by the doctrine would require additional purchases of combat systems as well as a significant restructuring of the command apparatus of the Indian military, some fundamental elements of the army components of the battle groups can be put together rapidly and easily through a redeployment of existing army assets. Furthermore, the Cold Start Doctrine is a conceptual move that makes Indian response to external provocation and nuclear blackmail less predictable and more flexible than the currently employed doctrine of massive attack, and opens up the possibility of intense but limited and controllable conflicts. In particular, it poses a significant challenge to the Pakistani strategy of state sponsored terrorism combined with nuclear blackmail."
Comment: Good point but how?
"The preceding discussion indicates that the Cold Start doctrine is conceptually sound and may be implementable with existing resources and planned purchases. However, there are significant blocks to its formal acceptance outside the Indian Army.
The most important block is that of political acceptance. Independent India fights its wars with very close political oversight and control. A doctrine that calls for rapid response and initiation of intense combat operations raises the possibility that political controls may become less effective, and that the combat commanders would have far greater latitude for independent initiative than would be deemed acceptable. Cold Start would be a non-starter without civilian institutions that can develop the political framework and objectives to support a rapid response doctrine, and without a politico-military command structure that can withstand the increased decision making tempo generated by the intense combat operations."
"The Integrated Defense Headquarters and the Chief of Defense Staff are seen by the army as institutions that would help implement the politico-military framework for supporting this assertive doctrine. However, there are inter-service realities that the Army has to address, before it can hope to have acceptance for the Cold Start Doctrine. The primary doctrinal block; one that surfaced most famously during Exercise Bhramastra and the Kargil War of 1999, is the issue of joint warfare between the army and the air force. The two services have a very different doctrinal view of how joint operations should be conducted. In essence, the army believes that the modern wars are best fought under a unified command, where one commander controls unified formations from all three services. The air force, on the other hand, believes that the different services should coordinate their plans but fight the war separately, in order to achieve integrated political and military objectives."
Comment: Valid. But now we don't have Patney.
"In the Indian Air Force's view, assigning air force units by geographic command would cause a gross underutilization of air power. In comparison to army formations that have to be assigned a clearly defined and relatively limited operational area, an air force squadron or wing can operate over hundreds or thousands of kilometers; it can be redeployed in hours or days if required. Likewise, strike targets are defined very differently for the air force, and limiting a squadron of multi-role combat aircraft for close air support or air cover places artificial and unacceptable constraints on employment of air power. It follows from this doctrinal outlook that the Indian Air Force will likely be opposed to "integrated battle groups" and the command structure for conducting integrated operations as envisaged by the army.
The army, as the proponent of Cold Start, bears the primary responsibility for winning formal acceptance for the doctrine. If the army chooses to make this issue a technical one and focuses on replicating war-fighting manuals from other countries, then this initiative will not only fail to win political approval, but will also degenerate into a messy inter-service turf battle. Recognizing the reality of modern warfare would involve significant compromises in the role of the army- for example; a unified Cold Start Doctrine can and should include an "Air Power Only" option that involves exclusive employment of air power assets for punitive operations. The ability of the army to accommodate political realities and opposing doctrinal views will therefore determine whether the Cold Start Doctrine gets accepted or gets put in Cold Storage."
Comment: On the whole, very illuminating summary.
Summarise if you will the Pak reaction and the way they will negate the concept. That will be ideal. Could you also amplify the nuclear threshold stuff that prompts this concept, or if it doesn't then why not?