Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

NRao
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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 13 May 2004 01:12

Cold start, IMHO, attempts to lay to bed all of the past. If ANY of the past issues comes up again, it is time to tweek Cold Start. Past includes time for political wheels to spin and stop Indian build up, all the way to disrupting ANY TSP designs of "defending" in any shape or form. Cold Start, from what I can see, is a very fluid process, with no predefined goal or objective (GO). GOs can be and will be formulated as and when a situation arises. To support such GOs, the Indian armed forces can use any of their services, in any combination.

And, I think, (no expert here) one can see some of the toys being designed to perform multiple roles - just an indicator (to me) of the fluidity that is expected.

What is very important to recog., in all this is that Cold Start is not just a Armed Forces related thinking. It deals more (IMHO) with politics - attempts to prevent it from entering the equation, attempts to prevent escalation to nuclear levels (TSP may be forced to revise their nuclear thresh holds for all I know - lower them).

JST

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 13 May 2004 01:16

has anyone in the last 2-3 years read articles
on Riposte doctrine from Pak retd people ? the whole idea seems to have been given a quick burial in favour of defence in depth and building of more fortifications. the goal being to delay
a indian victory than force a indian retreat.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 13 May 2004 01:55

If an "Indian Victory" does not include taking Pakistani land - in any shape or form, what use is their layered defence?

I suspect - not having read too much of Cold Start - the major goal would be to degrade "a current situation". That may involve just hitting a few Jihadic sites all the way to taking out Sargoda. TSP can have their layered defence and balance and whatever. And, they can also declare victory - India did not take an inch of our sacred land .....

With cold start, who wins is not negotiable NOR can someone else define it (including think tanks, etc). It is (or should be) defined by each individual CS unit.

If that analysis is right Cold start wins.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Y I Patel » 13 May 2004 02:07

The biggest questions about Cold Start are not whether it would work, but what kind of organizational changes would be required for command and staffing of these Integrated Battle Groups.

Army has always wanted some kind of integration (read integration with AF in particular) but Air Force continues to resist with the argument that modern wars are best fought separately after coordinating plans and objectives - as AVM Patney puts it in his must read USI article, IAF is looking for joint planning of operations rather than planning of joint operations. If you think back, Kargil is an excellent example where IA and IAF worked for the same military and political objective but fought largely seperate battles.

So the concept of IBGs may have to be seperated, at least initially, from a purely Army sponsored Cold Start doctrine. The IBGs could be boiled down to less ambitious but still very effective joint arms groups that would have augmented engr, arty, and armour support. Alternatively, I would hunt for explicit AF support of the doctrine. I have not read anything yet to that effect.

Not trying to lessen its impact, just wanted to preempt likely attempts to pour cold water on cold start.

Shaukat Qadir has no effective rebuttal.

PS
ramana thanks for heroically reviving this thread! I noted how some key posts from you saved it from oblivion :)

PPS
Not my intention to start IA vs IAF war here. Both sides have their valid comments, and in typical Indian fashion, both sides' concerns and desires will be accomodated :) Elephant walks slowly but tramples everything in its path. Getting an elephantine military apparatus to respond quickly to provocation is no mean challenge!

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 13 May 2004 04:33

Will remove if it has been posted, but the most amount of info I could find in one place (No URL for the moment):

India's war doctrine: “Cold Start”-implications for its neighbours?
The implications of India's new war doctrine for Pakistan and China.
[Gp Capt (Retd) S M HALI]
"Dreams float on an impatient wind,

A wind that wants to create a new order,

An order of strength and thundering of fire."

The above is a quote from a poem ascribed to Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, father of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and is available on the website 'Indian Missiles' which is dedicated to him with the caption: “It was the brilliant Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who breathed life into ballistic missiles like the Agni and Prithvi, which put China and Pakistan well under India's missile range.”

It appears that India wants to take the dream of Dr. Abdul Kalam, now India's President to new dimensions. Its new war doctrine, aptly named Cold Start was “unveiled” to the public by India's Army Chief Gen N.C. Vij on 04 March 2004 while inaugurating a two-day seminar on 'Army 2020: shape and size and structure and general doctrine for emerging challenges'. As reported by The Indian Express of 05 March 2004, he said, “With warfare scenario undergoing dramatic changes, the Indian Army has drafted a new war doctrine which would be finalized soon after it is circulated within the service as well as incorporating suggestions from the defence think tanks.

For reasons of security, the Indian Army Chief General N C Vij did not go public with the details of the new doctrine but the central idea revolves around replacing the age-old concept of mobilization of forces and Strike Corps spearheading the attack. The salient features of the new war doctrine, which calls for rewriting the war-book, are:
• Changed world doesn't allow massing of troops, invites diplomatic intervention
• Out go Strike Corps spearheading attack. Eight integrated battle groups to lead thrust into enemy territory
• Aim for 'total destruction of objective' but spare enemy's strategic potential to avoid nuclear response
• Focus on precision capability and hard impact since massive air, land campaigns not possible
According to The Indian Express of 06 March 2004's report titled: 'No eyeball to eyeball any more in new war doctrine', by Shishir Gupta, more details are provided: “While many in the forces may take credit for this doctrine, the then Western Army Commander Lt General Vijay Oberoi was one of the first to root for this strategy. Present Army Vice Chief Lt General Shantano Choudhary has refined the concept keeping in mind the existing nuclear environment. Gen Oberoi, who retired as Army Vice Chief in 2002, presently heads an Army think tank called CLAWS. This doctrine, debated at the last tri-Services military commanders conference, will be on the agenda again during the commanders' conference next month. The new doctrine does not believe in dividing the forces into defensive or attack formations. India's three Strike Corps - Mathura-based I Corps, Ambala-based II Corps and Bhopal-based XXI Corps - will be there only for training purposes. The war will be fought through eight battle groups with integrated elements from the IAF and Navy. Backed by tank regiments, heavy artillery, missile regiments and the air force, the battle groups will go for limited but lethal destruction on enemy territory. The Navy with its carrier-based fighters will have the key role of supporting the battle groups. Ships will also launch missiles like the Russian Klub. The idea is to destroy, not to hold or capture territory.

“This concept was first war-gamed during Exercise Vijay Chakra in the Thar desert by Gen Oberoi in 2001 and synergized between the three forces during Exercise Brahmastra later that year. Still being war-gamed, a part of it was on view at Exercise Divya Astra in Pokharan this week. This strategy was fine-tuned once the threat of nuclear war dawned on the security establishment. It was done by Gen Choudhary, then commander of the Jalandhar-based XI Corps, and his counterparts in IAF and Navy. Measuring the force application during war time, they took into account the nuclear threshold of the adversary.”

'Divya Astra' (divine weapon) was organized at the Mahajan Firing Ranges (Rajasthan), on March 1, 2004 by the Indian Army and Air Force as a massive firepower demonstration of the new long-distance multiple weapon firing ranges from a variety of weapon systems, comprising: tank columns, infantry combat vehicles, MI-35 attack helicopters, MiG-21 and MiG-23 jet fighters. Some of the systems demonstrated included the Krasnopol precision-guided ammunition fired from the 155-mm Bofors guns. Krasnopol is guided onto the target by a laser designator operated by an observer close to the target. The GRAD BM 21 multi-barrel rocket launchers consisting of 40 tubes with 122-mm rockets displayed their lethality. Among the weapons and equipment on display were the infantry weapons including automatic grenade launchers (AGLs), under barrel grenade launchers (UBLs), the Dragunov sniper rifle and the Carl Gustav 84-mm rocket launcher. The Army also unveiled its long range reconnaissance and observation system, integrated observation equipment and radars. The Israeli-made Searcher UAV also demonstrated its capabilities by taking high-resolution pictures of ''enemy activity'' from very high altitude.

The timing of this “disclosure” of India's new war doctrine is of interest. Why have India's top military commanders returned to their drawing board to work on this new war doctrine: the 'Cold Start' strategy while a highly hyped peace process is underway? What is the implication of announcing that hard strikes can be launched without massing of troops? Is it only to conceal their aggressive designs from an unsuspecting enemy and deny him the flexibility of response or to stealthily achieve the odious aim of belligerence before the watchful international opinion plays its role in thwarting the iniquitous plan?

The fact is that the main aim of this exercise appears to put pressure on Pakistan prior to the peace talks. Read another story in the Indian Press on the same date (March 6). This time in Asia Times titled: 'India frets over Pakistan-Bangladesh nexus', the correspondent Sultan Shahin “reveals” that: “According to Indian intelligence assessments, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is actively trying to realize its plan for a sovereign Islamic state in India's northeast, with full support from fundamentalist elements within Bangladesh government, army, bureaucracy and intelligence. Sources in India's Ministry of Home Affairs have told Asia Times Online that it has regularly been receiving reports of increased ISI activity in Bangladesh, and of tacit support extended to the ISI by the authorities there. With the ceasefire on the Kashmir border, militant outfits are increasingly using Bangladesh as training ground rather than Pakistan-administered Kashmir, according to the sources. There are also reports that Pakistan nationals owing allegiance to different terrorist outfits have been using Dhaka as a transit point for entering India and Nepal, as well as an escape route. Delhi has on several occasions raised the issue with Bangladeshi authorities. But Dhaka has repeatedly denied all similar reports and statements made by Indian government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani.”

After this (startling) revelation, herein lies the rub: “Though ruling Indian politicians will not make an issue out of the alleged ISI activity for the next couple of months until general elections are over - the achievement of peace on the borders is a major poll plank for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - Asia Times Online has learnt that central as well as state intelligence officials are deeply concerned at the growing influence of the ISI at various levels in Bangladesh, and of the activities of a variety of secessionist militants and Islamic fundamentalists, many of whom have found refuge in Bangladesh.”

The columnist attempts to drag in Khaleda Zia's regime too, in direct contravention to the SAARC spirit of brotherly relations revived during the Islamabad summit of January 2004. “…This has been particularly the case since the Bangladesh visit of Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf in July 2002, when additional ISI personnel were posted at the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka. The situation became even more favourable for the ISI after the assumption of power in October 2001 by the present four-party coalition led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), with the help of pro-Pakistan fundamentalist elements.”

Hindustan Times columnist Vishal Thapar, in his report titled: 'Army banks on divine weapon' throws more light on the subject.

“Army Chief General N.C. Vij, who witnessed the demonstration, emphasized that the demonstration was not intended to send a message to anyone but acknowledged that it represented preparations for conventional war. 'Hypothetically, there's always space for conventional war. That's why armies exist. I don't want to talk of war at the time of peace talks (with Pakistan). But preparedness diminishes chances of war. This exercise is part of our training. It is not to convey a message to anyone,' General Vij said, stopping short of terming it the Indian version of 'Shock and Awe'.”

India has been trying to rationalize the change in its war strategy through its defence analysts and think tanks ever since its troops withdrawal (read capitulation) after nearly a year long mobilization along Pakistan's international boundary following the December 13, 2001 (stage-managed) attack on the Indian Parliament. Praveen Swami, columnist of The Hindu presents the views of former Indian Army Chief in her article (February 6, 2004) titled: 'Gen. Padmanabhan mulls over lessons of Operation Parakram'. The noted columnist states “Problems with India's military doctrine, and a lack of clarity within the Union Cabinet and on its war objectives may have undermined Operation Parakram at the very outset. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, the former Chief of the Army Staff, General S. Padmanabhan, has thrown new light on the reasons for the failure of Operation Parakram; the massive build-up ordered in the wake of the December 13, 2001, terrorist attack on Parliament House. He was responding to criticism that a slow mobilization of the troops 'gifted' Pakistan time to prepare its defences - and eventually meant that the Operation had to be called off. Gen. Padmanabhan argues that significant military gains could have been achieved in January 2002, had politicians made the decision to go to war. These objectives, he says, could have included 'degradation of the other force, and perhaps the capture of disputed territory in Jammu and Kashmir. They were more achievable in January, less achievable in February, and even less achievable in March. By then, the balance of forces had gradually changed.'

“Critics of Gen. Padmanabhan's management of Operation Parakram have argued that air strikes against terror training camps could have been carried out within days of the December 13 outrage. The Army, in turn, said that it needed time to prepare for the escalatory consequences of such attacks. Pakistan, Army planners believed, had an interest in taking the conflict towards a nuclear flash-point as soon as possible. The Army believed the best prospects of avoiding such a situation was having forces in place that could rapidly secure war objectives.

According to Gen. Padmanabhan, the kinds of limited strikes some were pushing for would have been 'totally futile'. 'If you really want to punish someone for something very terrible he has done,' he said, 'you smash him. You destroy his weapons and capture his territory.' 'War is a serious business,' he continues, 'and you don't go just like that. When December 13 happened, my strike formations were at peace locations. At that point, I did not have the capability to mobilize large forces to go across.'

Military doctrine -

problems

Part of the problem appears to have been India's defence-oriented military doctrine, which assigns most formations to hold ground against enemy attack. Offensive roles are largely assigned to three strike formations, the Mathura- based 1 Corps, the Ambala-based 2 Corps and the Bhopal-based 21 Corps. Unlike these strike formations, most other Corps can at best carry out very limited offensive tasks. India, Gen. Padmanabhan's remarks suggest, could have ended up starting a war from which it would have gained very little, and that too at great cost.

Doctrinal baggage, he accepts, crippled India's early options in 2002. 'You could certainly question why we are so dependent on our strike formations,' he said, 'and why my holding Corps don't have the capability to do the same tasks from a cold start. This is something I have worked on while in office. Perhaps, in time, it will be our military doctrine.' Gen. Padmanabhan's new book, 'The Writing on the Wall - India Checkmates America 2017,” among other things, describes a fictional war in which India retakes the Haji Pir pass in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.

Correctives being taken

Efforts are now under way to rectify some of these problems in doctrine identified in the course of Operation Parakram. The present Army Chief, Gen. Nirmal C. Vij, has pushed through an ambitious modernization of India's ground forces. New weapons systems are now being introduced which will allow each Corps a limited offensive capability of its own, reducing dependence on the strike formations. India's Special Forces are also being re-equipped to improve their ability to operate behind enemy lines for considerable lengths of time, and could play a key role in a future war.”

The answer to this multi-pronged attack of brow beating and maliciously maligning, lies in India's ambitions of becoming a superpower and a full fledged member of the UN Security Council so that it can continue its hegemonic designs undeterred. Pakistan's being declared as the newest member of the elite club of 'Most non-NATO Ally' has caused chagrin in the minds of the Indian Defence planners as well as its External Affairs specialists. Seema Mustafa of Deccan Chronicle in her article titled: 'Heartache for India' published on 20th March 2004, makes a frank admission of India's anguish, but showers unprecedented praise on the Pakistani President. It makes an interesting viewpoint from the other side of the divide hence it is being quoted here in toto: “India is aggrieved about the United States decision to confer major non-Nato ally status on Pakistan. The gesture confirms what foreign policy experts have known all along but the government has remained in denial mode about: the United States has a special relationship with Pakistan, so special that India can only remain a secondary partner no matter how hard it tries to change this reality. And the good Lord knows, we are trying very very hard to win over Washington and keep it firmly on our side. US Secretary Colin Powell came to New Delhi and said the usual about Pakistan's nuclear programme, how he expected Pakistan to plug all the loopholes etc etc. Meaningless words really.

“But he had our South Block mandarins hopping up and down with glee: see, they need us, they love us, they are fed up with Pakistan, Powell is going to talk tough to Musharraf, we always knew that Pakistan could not get away with all this for too long.

“The spin doctors gave their usual spin to the visit, the media reported the details faithfully, and the sun appeared to be shining until the Secretary of State landed in Islamabad. He did not even wait to meet Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf. He announced the decision to make Pakistan a major non-Nato ally after a meeting with Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri.

“Obviously New Delhi, choosing to wear blinkers in so far as its relations with Washington are concerned, had not seen this coming. There was no reaction except unofficially. The foreign office was seething, former diplomats were furious, policy makers tried hard to look for the silver lining, and at the end of the day India sat back without a response or even a knee jerk reaction.

“Some solace was found in the fact that Powell said on board the flight out of Pakistan that he could consider the same status for India. And judging from the initial response here, we are clearly jumping over this assurance too. Solace in crumbs thrown to a nation that had once taken pride in her sovereignty and her independence. Tragic.

“It is amazing how unwilling Indian policy makers are to factor home truths into their assessments of the South Asian situation. It is almost as if an admission of reality is anti-national. And true nationalism is that which denies reality, and revels in an illusory 'feel good' climate.

“Learned veterans writing volumes on India-Pakistan relations these days refuse one, to acknowledge the leadership qualities of President Musharraf and two, his importance for the US. Instead they are always seizing on straws that might momentarily suggest otherwise, to convince themselves, the government and the people of India that all is well, Pakistan can never be a real ally for the US, and if we are patient we will emerge as the real victors. In that the US will be forced to recognize us as the real allies. Perhaps, but then again perhaps not. The Americans, in their brief history, have never felt very comfortable with democracies. They like to engage with democracies, they like to improve military relations, they like to build on trade and business but they are always hesitant, politically, to forge links that they will not be in a position to control. The dynamics of Indian politics certainly makes her uncontrollable. There is no certainty whether the BJP will come back to power at the end of these elections, whether the Congress will be able to make a serious bid for power, or whether one of the regional mavericks might be catapulted into the Prime Minister's chair by the sheer force of circumstances. The US might today be in a position to control India's foreign policy to a greater extent than ever before, but it is helpless when it comes to her domestic politics that continues to defy the best predictions of even her own political leadership.

“Pakistan, on the other hand, has always been a natural ally for Washington. Ever since the days of the Cold War. Washington and Islamabad have developed links over the years that have penetrated the cold walls of the Pentagon to ensure that these respond to the test of time. Pakistan is predictable simply because it has that huge institution, the military, that remains in control regardless of who is in power at any point of time. Washington has always been very comfortable with Pakistan's military; it understands this institution, its compulsions, its limitations and has a fairly good idea of its pressure points that can be pressed as and when required.

“To put it very simplistically, it will be a very foolish USA that will discard dependable Pakistan for unpredictable India. Having said that, let us look at the general. New Delhi is very resistant to looking at the general, and needs dark glasses to even move its eyes in his direction. We prefer looking at warts and moles, and are not very happy when we look at a smiling, clear eyed man in military uniform who still looks as if he has the world under his feet.

“Yes, President Musharraf does give this impression and even though he is being pushed and shoved by the Americans, he continues to act as if he is in total command and will take so much and no more. The so much does keep increasing, but it is done so gradually that Pakistan is now divided between parties like the MMA who insist that he is an American stooge, and those who feel that they are more secure under him than they would have been under any other political leader after 9/11.

“President Musharraf is a commando. He packs into his every action, the thoroughness and the authority of the commando. He meets Laloo Prasad Yadav and you get the impression that he has read up every little fact about the Bihar leader, following his visit to Pakistan with deep interest. He meets the Indian cricket team, and rattles out figures and statistics that bowl them over.

“He meets Prime Minister Vajpayee when relations between India-Pakistan are at breaking point and floors the entire hall with the famous handshake in Kathmandu. Pakistan's father of the bomb is accused of proliferation, the world expects Pakistan to be hit by the mounting flak, but again the general ensures that he and his country are off the hook. To the point where Washington is left answering awkward questions while President Musharraf is left free to treat the world to homilies of nuclear piety. These are not mean feats.

“These require audacity, cunning, intelligence, confidence and a charisma that the general certainly does not lack. He is being swung around by the Americans, at least that is what we all think, but he is able to give the impression that he is an equal partner in the merry go round. And if he is not actively turning the wheel, he is definitely still in a position to determine the speed. After all he has been able to convince the Americans that he is their best bet in Pakistan.

'He is the only army commander who they can rely on. Not just to support the US probably most of the senior command in Pakistan's army has a special relationship with Washington today but to deliver. For one, he is a liberal and does not draw his inspiration from Islamic fundamentalism. Two, he is a professional army officer and fired by his own vision of a modern Pakistan does not hesitate to take on the mullahs at any point in time. He dares.

'There are not many in Pakistan, not even from the so called political class, who can take on the extremists and tell a gathering of tribal elders that they are sheltering 600 al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives and they better hand them over. The current offensive in the tribal areas is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan.

“The Americans need Pakistan. And they need President Musharraf for he has become indispensable to them. They will make all the necessary noises of criticism, as and when required, but the truth again lies in Colin Powell's assertion that Washington is more than prepared to accommodate the general's political interests to keep him effective in this crucial war against terrorism.

“One must remember that the US was more than willing to take its finger off the non-proliferation trigger in Pakistan's case and went along willingly with Musharraf's “scapegoat formula.” He is the only leader at the present point in time, and Pakistan is the only country, that can actually make the difference for US President George W Bush between victory and defeat in this election year.

“The operation in the tribal areas has brought Washington closer than it ever has been to apprehending key Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, and again there are not many in Pakistan who could send 70,000 troops into Fata while they entertained the Indian cricket team to tea and dahi bhallas.

“India, under the astute leadership of the BJP, has been burrowing itself into the US lap in the hope that it will emerge as the favourite child. In the process it has been getting its little carrots, largely in the form of economic and military returns.

“Washington is getting into every crucial aspect of Indian decision making, with the naval, air and land military exercises working more to its benefit than that of India. After decades of trying the Americans have got access to our mountain and jungle training institutes, key strategic training centres that the Indian military had guarded zealously. Even without a history of proliferation, India is under as much pressure as Pakistan to fall in line on this front.

“Politically we have got little. New Delhi has had to set aside its objections on terrorism and enter into a peace dialogue with the military general it had balked from doing business with. Kashmir remains the core issue, and is up there for discussion. It is on top of the agenda.

Powell during his visit made placatory noises that lulled New Delhi into a sense of deep security, until he shattered it with the major non-Nato ally status for Pakistan. The implications can have major repercussions for the region, and it is strange that the Indian Foreign Office was unable to respond to the move. It appears that the flourishing US-India relations have, in real terms, shackled India while they have given the United States the space to strengthen relations with Pakistan. Someone has to think again. And me fears it might just have to be India.”

It would be prudent for the defence planners of Pakistan not to be cowed down by India's new war doctrine and its buying spree of weapons, delivery systems, jet trainers, Phalcon Radar, aircraft carriers, its missile tests and neither be lulled into a false sense of security by its being declared most non-Nato ally and to take India's peace overtures with a pinch of salt and not let their guard down. After all the Indian President himself provides the clue in his poem quoted in the beginning of this article; India's burning desire of creating a “new order,

An order of strength and thundering of fire.”

About the Author
Group Captain S M Hali has served in Pakistan Air Force for thirty years. During his air force career, he has flown over 4500 hours and worked on various command and staff appointments, which include the command of a squadron, duties as Air and Naval Attaché and Director Public Relations for PAF. He is a Graduate of PAF Staff College, Joint Services Staff College, has Honours degree in Business Administration and Masters in Mass Communication and is currently pursuing an M Phil degree in Mass Communications.

He has produced a Drama serial Shahpar, about 40 TV documentaries and ten motivational songs videos. He has authored over two hundred and fifty articles for various national and international dailies and magazines. He has hosted and participated in numerous TV and Radio talk shows. He writes a regular weekly column in daily Nawa-i-Waqt and also contributes periodically to a number of English dailies and Journals including the Defence Journal.

For his meritorious services, the Government of Pakistan has conferred on him Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military).

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Adi » 13 May 2004 05:29

Originally posted by Niranjan Rao:
Will remove if it has been posted, but the most amount of info I could find in one place (No URL for the moment):

India's war doctrine: “Cold Start”-implications for its neighbours?
The implications of India's new war doctrine for Pakistan and China.
[Gp Capt (Retd) S M HALI]
"Dreams float on an impatient wind,

Note that this is the same character who lifted an entire BR write-up on LCA by sunil s and George J and published it under his own name in a 'reputed' Pakrag run by Paagal Sehgal.

Wonder where he looked for inspiration this time? :lol:

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 13 May 2004 06:05


Rudra
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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 13 May 2004 07:00

Nuclear war fare is not a “commando raid” or “command operation” with which its present military ruler is more familiar.

:rotfl:

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Ashutosh » 13 May 2004 10:01

Ahem - did I ask this before? How different would an integrated battle group be from the 101 airborne or the british expeditionary units?

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Priyank » 13 May 2004 12:18

[quote]Originally posted by Aditya_C:
Note that this is the same character who lifted an entire BR write-up on LCA by sunil s and George J and published it under his own name in a 'reputed' Pakrag run by Paagal Sehgal.

Wonder where he looked for inspiration this time? :D

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 13 May 2004 16:47

> How different would an integrated battle group
> be from the 101 airborne

not entirely airmobile ofcourse and having far
more armour, arty and mech assets. 101st has 400
helicopters , a IA IBG would be expected to have
50. it would be better compared to some of the
obese US cavalry-armd 'brigades' thats akin more to
a mech corps once they finish adding in the extra
units :rotfl:

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Sribabu » 13 May 2004 17:15

Is the term "air mobile" mainly to denote that the whole unit can be moved/transported by air or is it something to do with how they are actually used in battle?

TIA,
Sri

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rakesh » 13 May 2004 19:55

Originally posted by Priyank:
The above is a quote from a poem ascribed to Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, father of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme and is available on the website 'Indian Missiles' which is dedicated to him with the caption: “It was the brilliant Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who breathed life into ballistic missiles like the Agni and Prithvi, which put China and Pakistan well under India's missile range."
Paagal Sehgal actually stole my lines. I wrote that way back in 1997!!!! Where is my acknowledgement? Where is BR's acknowledgement? :)

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 13 May 2004 20:02

'Power is more important than knowledge' - chandogya upanishad

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Adi » 13 May 2004 20:03

So urm Rakesh, TFTA Group Captain has actually lifted stuff from a dark yindoo teenager? :D

Can we thus conclude that the knowledge of

1 short dark yindoo amateur >> 1 TFTA war veteran Pakofficer?

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Leonard » 14 May 2004 21:40


Dr Ayesha Siddiqa
The Indian strategy is likely to end up destabilising deterrence :D :D


The recently announced war strategy by the Indian military dubbed Cold Start is an attempt to restore the confidence of the Indian military in its ability to launch an offensive, especially against a smaller adversary.

Although the strategy was simulated, there are clear problems in its design that would not allow any major gains during a conflict. On the other hand, the plan does make the strategic environment riskier, a development that Pakistan has to cater for. There are a number of ways that a possible threat created due to this policy could be neutralised.

To offset the disadvantage of its relative strategic depth, India’s plan aims at creating military structures or formations that are positioned to launch a surprise attack at a short notice. Such formations aim to capitalise on the time factor. In a way, the concept represents revolution in military affairs (RMA) in the South Asian context.

The Indian military felt hampered during the 2002 standoff since it could not take the initiative and launch an offensive operation. The plan aims to correct that. The popular notion in India was that New Delhi could take an initiative based on its relatively superior conventional capabilities to fight a limited war. To their dismay they found that this was not possible in a nuclear South Asia.

The problem was not that India could not hit a smaller Pakistan. It was the inability to calculate the extent to which India could go in responding to a possible Pakistani military response. Calculating such a response was important because the Pakistani forces were ready and poised to respond to an offensive. While the initiative to launch an offensive might be with a technologically superior country, this advantage could be easily lost during a conflict, especially when the result is total destruction through use of nuclear weapons.

Deterrence literature says a smaller power is under a lot of pressure that deters it from escalation. But this rule also applies to a bigger adversary if it is the one trying to escalate. Escalation cannot be an endgame in a nuclear environment. Such an environment, in fact, changes the ground-rules for a conflict and makes invasion or major military gains difficult to achieve.

Luckily, leaders on both sides have behaved rationally. India’s eventual conventional de-escalation after ten months was as much a rational decision as Pakistan’s withdrawal of forces during Kargil.

Nonetheless, the standoff has led Indian to think up new ideas that could help plug some gaps. Could it take a minor military initiative if the militants were re-deployed again? How could it possibly launch a massive and pointed strike against some camps in Pakistan’s territory and yet bail out?

Here, the underlying assumption is that Pakistan would not be able to launch a counter attack because this strike would not directly amount to the threat of an invasion. This is the Indian military establishment working around the perceived Pakistani threshold, the concept of which was given by General Kidwai.

Although the four possible scenarios were meant as a signal during the standoff, the gap between Islamabad’s claims of its red-lines and its ability to respond created a credibility gap. A number of India analysts have actually begun to doubt or question the description of red-lines. What has added to the doubt is the calculation that American engagement with Pakistan has naturally undermined Islamabad’s nuclear capacity and hence the value of its deterrence. Some experts in India actually believe Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been capped, if not rolled back.

Of course, this assertion is completely erroneous. Even so, in conflict calculation it poses problems and makes things riskier by misinterpreting signals from Islamabad. One hopes that it is the conservatives that are making nuclear deterrence calculation for New Delhi and are not swayed by such bogus assessments. Else, there is likely to be serious possibility of miscalculation by New Delhi.

India might take a greater risk such as the one apparent in its Cold Start strategy assuming that Pakistan’s nuclear capability is downsized or controlled by Washington. Indeed, Pakistan needs to dispel any such misunderstanding as a contribution to strengthening deterrence in the region. While one might raise questions about the overall Pakistan-US linkage and Islamabad’s growing dependence on the US, nuclear deterrence is key to Pakistan’s security. This is a fact that the country’s leadership is not oblivious of.

The new Indian strategy appears to emulate Israeli military planning and focuses on preemptive strike to counter the threat of sub-conventional war. The only problem is its adaptation in a nuclear environment (Middle East suffers from a strategic imbalance between Israel and its neighbouring adversaries).

The idea is basically to prepare strike groups that could conduct a sudden and debilitating tactical strike against minor objects inside the adversary’s territory. The assumption is that military structures should be such that allow the advantage of both speed and surprise. The strike groups would be back in their positions at home before the adversary is able to react. The fact that the Indian forces have returned without occupying any portion of Pakistan’s territory, it is assumed, would not result in a reaction. Or even if it does then Islamabad might have problems justifying its own military reaction internationally. This calculation is based on a larger assumption that given the risk of conventional escalation leading to possible nuclear conflict, the smaller adversary would basically have to swallow an offensive.

Theoretically, the plan makes perfect sense in taking initiative away from Pakistan. What New Delhi appears to have learnt from its earlier military encounters with Islamabad is that Pakistan’s military leaders are rational enough not to take rash decisions to go for uncalculated escalation. This structure is likely to be integrated with the technologies to be imported from Israel such as the Green-Pine radar and the Phalcon airborne early warning system. These systems would give the advantage of advance information of adversary’s positions.

How does Pakistan react to this planning? The only silver lining for Islamabad at the moment is that the above plan calls for perfect coordination, an element that depends on improvement of quality of maintenance of equipment and training in the Indian military. It would take a while before the Indian military can develop from their traditional mode of operating as a force geared to fight a defensive war. The new plan is offensive in nature and its integration requires time and consistent effort at changing the military culture more than anything else. Intelligence failures and errors in planning that one witnessed during Kargil denote problems that it can ill-afford with the new war plan.

However, it does heighten the overall military-strategic temperature in the region. There are three options that Pakistan might have to adopt simultaneously.

First, to initiate its own process of RMA in a manner that makes the military more technology-intensive. The personnel-intensive approach will have to be abandoned. One alternative is to tailor-make a system of conscription with a mix of strike corps.

Second, re-structure its forces in a manner where it can also consider the possible option of pre-emption.

Third, explore other technological options that might neutralise the adversary’s advantage. For instance, there is great worth in developing sea-based deterrence. Islamabad does not necessarily have to go the Indian way of acquiring a nuclear submarine. A nuclear-powered submarine of the size of the Agosta 90B would provide major advantage even if it were equipped with conventional armament. The ability to take the threat to the enemy would boost deterrence.

India and Pakistan would always remain relevant for each other. In fact, the new war strategy suggests India’s inability to think beyond Pakistan. Hence, it is not possible for one to make strategic changes without taking into account the affect it might have on the other. While India has the right to conjure up its war strategy, one cannot ignore its implications. Pakistan’s search for security might even make it imperative for Islamabad to go for weaponisation or shortening the distance between its warheads and delivery platforms.

From TFT

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby ramana » 14 May 2004 22:05

The Paki Brig says"Neither Indian nor many Pakistani commanders are comfortable taking risks. There is far too much at stake! It is for this reason most of all that I consider it unlikely that such a concept might actually be tried. If it ever is, I would like to witness it."

I submit that if his folks try to repeat their misadventure, he will get to feel/witness Operation Durvasa's wrath and I promise it will be more severe than "Wrath of (Genghis) Khan"!

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Ashutosh » 14 May 2004 23:49

Does anybody track Ayesha Siddique's articles? I ask this because she recently became a JDW correspondent for TSP ... so wondering if she is singing a different tune now ...

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 15 May 2004 11:54

The theory of Cold Start is not really new, nor is it (theory) a suprise to either TSP or Uncle. What is probably a surprise is the Indian ability to implement it and more than likely be better AND successful, say, than the 101 to boot. If that is true, then we can expect the worms to crawl out and see that it is not implemented at all.

What is real neat about CS is that it clearly states that it will not allow anyone from Tokyo to DC to loose sleep because of nuclear escalation. Objectives to be achieved before decision to escalate from TSP. AND, before London/DC intervene in any shape or form. It also discounts any eval passed by TSP.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby jrjrao » 15 May 2004 15:24

Dung interviews the PAF chief:
Kaleem Saadat is of the strong view the war strategy has changed in the present times, and ultimately the air force will prove to be decisive contributor to success. He believed the land-occupation was no more a bargaining chip, rather hitting the economic targets and lending financial blow was the strategy in vogue. Instead of outside-in strategy, that is, cutting through the defence of the enemy and reaching the capital city, the modern-day warfare emphasizes on the inside-out strategy - hitting inside starting from command and control and moving outwards. He is of the view the territory is not important, the brains, know-how, research, effective system of governance, commitment and economy are important.

``Any country will like to destroy the industry, infrastructure, bridges and other economic strategic targets, leaving the economy of the enemy paralyzed. Achieving this, it would put you behind by, say, ten years; so why the territory be occupied....
http://jang.com.pk/thenews/may2004-daily/15-05-2004/main/main6.htm

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Luxtor » 15 May 2004 16:13

There's no substitute for capturing enemy territory. That is the ultimate aim. There's nothing more valuable to any country than its territory. After all a country is made up of land...and people too, but you can't capture an enemy country's people and hold them prisoners. Well you could but managing captured land is far easier than managing captured people. Just look at the Americans in Iraq. So at the very next sign of grave provocation from the Pakis we should start by pummeling Pakis forces and assets in POK and capture it and keep it and call their nuke bluff.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby jrjrao » 16 May 2004 04:01

The Paki Brig is back. And is even more worried about the hot effects, on him and his, from Cold Start.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_16-5-2004_pg3_4

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Ashutosh » 16 May 2004 04:11

From another POV, India's 'Cold Start' seems to convey the message that "if we don't say that we're deploying; then you are not supposed to use your shiny nukes; it also means that we will attack you anytime and punish and cause massive economic and infrastructure damage, you but we don't want your territory, and also that you can do nothing about it ..."

... more importantly, this message is not directed at just TSP ...

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Anoop » 16 May 2004 05:00

Shaukat Qadir and Ayesha Siddique seem to have compared notes before publishing their pieces. Two points are common to their articles:

1. The need for 'perfect co-ordination' on the part of the Indian armed forces and the Pakistani belief that this is not possible without elaborating why this is not possible. After all, the number of joint exercises conducted in the past 4 years would lead to the conclusion that it is more possible now that it ever was. The conclusion is presented in such a throwaway fashion that it appears to be the Pakistani establishment's way to stating their non-deterrance to the idea of Cold Start - as a matter of routine.

2. The Pakistani belief that its nuclear red-lines are nebulous enough for India not to take it for granted that they (red-lines) won't be crossed.

If the Pakistani nuclear threshold is so ill-defined, why did Khalid Kidwai go to such lengths to define them for the Italian think-tank? Secondly, if the Pakistani military lowers its threshold to absurd levels, it will find itself at the wrong end of the international stick.

It seems to me that the objectives defined in the Cold Start doctrine have been necessarily made modest, so that 'victory' is now defined in very achievable terms for the Indian military under the constraints it operates in. The Pakistani responses via Qadir and Siddique seem to be signalling that their resist such a unilateral definition of 'victory'.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Y I Patel » 16 May 2004 06:21

Finally, I explained in an earlier article that nuclear deterrence in the cold war era was a product of mutually assured destruction; which does not exist here. If one could coin a term; in South Asia there is unilaterally assured destruction. Consequently, Pakistan relies on a very nebulous concept of ‘unacceptable damage’ for deterring India. Since this term is indefinable and inexact, we have a state of nuclear instability that concerns the world. Now this Indian concept, dissatisfied with the current level of instability wants to increase it by introducing its reliance on an even more nebulous term, ‘threshold of nuclear tolerance’; equally, if not more difficult to define.

If newspaper articles are about signalling, this seems to be the main signal. But what is Qadir saying? That threshold of nuclear tolarance is difficualt to define! So no more redlines as Kidwai had signalled to the Italians? Now it's just "anything we think is a redline is a redline"!

Pakis are certainly squirming!

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 16 May 2004 09:20

Kaleem Saadat is of the strong view the war strategy has changed in the present times, and ultimately the air force will prove to be decisive contributor to success. He believed the land-occupation was no more a bargaining chip, rather hitting the economic targets and lending financial blow was the strategy in vogue.
Eh? Thought occupation + hitting high value targets was always a preferred strat. Now, "lending financial" institutions from a TSP PoV could be new.

There's no substitute for capturing enemy territory. That is the ultimate aim. There's nothing more valuable to any country than its territory.
I am not too sure if that is accurate. Today one would prefer to gain political mind-share rather than land. Occupation is no longer a bilatteral act, it involves all sorts of agencies from all lands.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Johann » 19 May 2004 04:46

Anoop, Yogi

The GoI's decision to keep operations on the Indian side of the LoC during Kargil, and the war crises of 2002 seemed to convince the Pakistanis that nuclear weapons would keep Indians from crossing the LoC or the IB in force.

At the very least announcing interest in 'Cold Start' has stripped much of that complacency.

As it has been pointed out the lack of reference to the doctrine of riposte suggests that the Pakistanis are at this time either unable or unwilling to bear the cost maintaining forces at similar levels of readiness that are capable of achieving equal or greater penetration.

My understanding of what Qadir is saying is that he thinks the Pakistani government can have a press release after a terrorist act denouncing it and warning of the 'gravest consequences in the event of an Indian attack' in the hands of the global media, and world leaders out of bed and burning up the hotlines before the huge prepatory arilley barrage and the breaching operations are over.

On the other hand if the Indian leadership is willing to push such a response a few times Pakistan will end up as the boy who called wolf.
The Pakistanis would have to keep spectacular terrorism at a lower pitch or face the possibility that no one above bottle washer will receive their call the next time until it really it is too late.

In the end I think all of this will go some small distance to taking the power of initiative from Pakistan, and compounding its internal stresses.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Johann » 19 May 2004 05:10

Originally posted by Ashutosh:
How different would an integrated battle group be from the 101 airborne or the british expeditionary units?
Units like the American or British airborne and air assault units have to be ready to deploy to almost any spot on the globe at very short notice, in roles that could span from non-combatant evacuation lasting a few days, to full airborne assault followed by months of combat.

I would guess that these cold start formations are likely to be far more locally specialised in terms of what they are trained and structured to do,with much shorter logistic tail and not intended to be sustained as long. That would be entirely to their advantage under the given circumstances.

Originally posted by Sribabu:
Is the term "air mobile" mainly to denote that the whole unit can be moved/transported by air or is it something to do with how they are actually used in battle?
Sri, as you correctly guessed airmobile refers to their optimisation for airlift. Most of it is an emphasis on that sort of complicated logistical planning needed and any adjustments of the TO&E needed.

At the high level its breaking down the formation in to appropriately sized loads, and deciding what goes on what lift for the build up, sustainment and withdrawal phases. On one hand you want to finish the build up as quickly as possible, but on the other you want to keep the force on the other side of the air bridge balanced.

On the lower level it is practicing breaking down things as needed, working with various aircraft (Air Forces have all kinds of inconvenient safety regulations as you probably know :) ), especially on loading and unloading, reassembly, etc

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 19 May 2004 06:08

> despite the unquestionable superiority of the
> IAF

along with the absense of riposte concept the
above is also a major new change in the literature and mental posture.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Anoop » 19 May 2004 06:34

Johann,

Thanks for the insight. It appears that Pakistan has moved from expecting international pressure to cease large scale hostilities soon, to expecting it to prevent them from commencing altogether. I agree that the very declaration of Cold Start (without prejudice to its achievability) takes the initiative away from Pakistan.

However, given the subcontinental political tradition of equating land and POWs captured to victory, I wonder if the Cold Start definition of degrading military capabilities is not too avant garde. After all, the true extent of degradation is often lost in the fog of war and there's nothing to stop Pakistan from inflating losses to India and deflating losses to itself to save face. In fact, they are past masters at it! I think the true success of the new doctrine will hinge upon denying Pakistan an escalating response.

What are your thoughts on the military achievability of the new doctrine?

YIP, I think that Pakistani analysts are still finding their way through this development. In the absence of a robust conventional posture, they are still wielding their nuclear stick.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 19 May 2004 06:48

the scope for media management can be reduced by producing hi res photos of damage claimed by india via sats, recce ac and UAVs. as the attack
zones are not too deep this will be easy to manage...for eg. a area littered with a burning column of tanks worked over by a squad of -27s.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby NRao » 19 May 2004 09:10

CS de-emphasizes "subcontinental political tradition". Metrics will have to be reformulated and set by Indians - TSP will not have a say in this matter.

WRT escalation, for one CS is a challenge to TSP and two TSP, if they respond, will have to take some drastic steps, such as lowering the nuke threshold. IMHO, any step TSP takes to respond will be important enough to make other heads of state to take notice. (CS is not just man power ratio, it includes technology - and planning/training. IMHO India has the $$ to do all that, for TSP at best it will be a struggle keep pace.)

CS can have an impact on both sides of the border and AT the border (in real time - shall we say training?)

If at all anything is questinable from the Indian side it will be the will of politicians in India.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby davidn » 19 May 2004 16:57

Originally posted by Rudra Singha:
> despite the unquestionable superiority of the
> IAF

along with the absense of riposte concept the
above is also a major new change in the literature and mental posture.
They probably think it'll help them get their FMS ultra-subsidised F-16 Blk.60's lol

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Rudra » 19 May 2004 17:48

they wish!

does anyone remember a time in 2000-01 when THREE
div level exercises were held by IA in parallel?
amogh prahar , .... YIP was very happy.

Thats the nearest analogue to multiple CS I can
think of recently.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Cybaru » 19 May 2004 20:59

The Cold Start strategy will need a huge level of co-operation from all three forces. Although CDS didn't get implemented, if this has to really fly, then they will need some sort of framework in place to do be able to achive this.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Vick » 19 May 2004 21:19

The IN's new/revised doctrine is supposed to come out soon after they have their bigwig pow-wow in June. Then we will get a chance to see how much thought is going into truly integrating at the strategic and tactical level.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Johann » 21 May 2004 20:22

Anoop,

I think it is too early to make any predictions about the degree of military effectiveness.

For one thing it is not clear how 'cold' cold start is intended to be - 72 hours? 48 hours? 24 hours? 12 hours? etc.

It is not clear either how the objectives will vary with the terrain - the tread friendly stretch of the Thar, the heavily built up Punjabi plain or the rugged LoC.

I will say this however - reorganisation always costs money, a great deal of it, and that in turn requires sustained political support. As has been discussed here earlier Gen. Sunderjee's mechanisation plans were never fully implemented with the change in governments and economic conditions. Even after the economic political climate turned around there were many other competing spending priorities within the Indian armed forces.

One of the largest expenses will be relocating the units in these integrated battle groups closer to the border. Land will have to be acquired, cleared and facilities constructed. Units in other commands may have elements like combat engineers re-assigned to these battle groups. Forward airbases may need to be expanded to protect these new facilities, etc.

As I understand anything to do with land is often a complicated political and legal issue in India.

At another level the rate at which these projects may be funded will depend on the economic plans and policy priorities. There may have to be some kind of review process to see where how all of these pieces fit together.

Shifting to a new doctrine is a process all in itself with both military and political dimensions.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Sunil » 21 May 2004 21:18

" Kaleem Saadat is of the strong view the war strategy has changed in the present times, and ultimately the air force will prove to be decisive contributor to success. He believed the land-occupation was no more a bargaining chip, rather hitting the economic targets and lending financial blow was the strategy in vogue."

Looks like the basta*ds are planning to go after Jamnagar and Bbay High.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Ashutosh » 21 May 2004 21:34

Originally posted by sunil s:
" Kaleem Saadat is of the strong view the war strategy has changed in the present times, and ultimately the air force will prove to be decisive contributor to success. He believed the land-occupation was no more a bargaining chip, rather hitting the economic targets and lending financial blow was the strategy in vogue."

Looks like the basta*ds are planning to go after Jamnagar and Bbay High.
Don't think so. He's only day-dreaming about it.

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Re: Exercise Divya Astra: Shock & Awe

Postby Leonard » 27 May 2004 23:57

Ambiguity and risk manipulation


Ejaz Haider
While there must be ambiguity in relation to what kind of response may attend the crossing of a line (not spelled out), there must be no ambiguity about the capability itself and the will to use it

The expert-level talks on nuclear CBMs (confidence-building measures) between India and Pakistan, scheduled for May 25-26 in New Delhi, have been moved up to just two days before the foreign secretary-level talks in June. They should have happened as planned but let us not go into the question of why India might have wanted to postpone them at this stage. Enough to say that both realise it is important to talk nuclear. Why?

Possession of nuclear weapons is tricky business: deterrence requires conflict for its stability; yet, the conflict must not spiral out of control. In other words, both sides must learn, through conflict, to stay below each other’s pain threshold. The best scenario is when a series of smaller conflicts leads the adversaries to the inevitable conclusion that neither can win. Schelling called it the ‘manipulation of risk’ This appreciation of balance could then lead to absence of conflict and, in time, even peace.

When the conflict scenario is unfolding, it witnesses the interplay among multiple factors. This is why when deterrence-pessimists refer, e.g. to Kargil or the 10-month-long standoff as evidence that deterrence does not work, they make a crucial mistake of taking a snapshot view of it. Deterrence does not just happen; it is not a function merely of the possession of nuclear weapons. It is the assessment of what can or cannot be done on the basis of such possession that establishes it.

Secondly, and this is the implication of the first argument, deterrence takes place through interaction between the adversaries and the responses on both sides determine the ultimate outcome. If, for instance, one adversary were to capitulate, there would be no deterrence; the relationship from that point onwards would be too uneven. On the other extreme, if one adversary were to act totally irrationally, the conflict would spiral out of control and none will perhaps live to tell the tale.

But equally, establishing a longitudinal design for deterrence is not easy since no one factor can be accorded primacy in stabilising deterrence – not least, because none stands alone and all interact with each other.

In the case of India and Pakistan, deterrence does not work on the basis of deployed capability. There are no doctrines on the table and red-lines are not visible. While both have demonstrated the capability, nothing else has changed from the time when the capability was ‘recessed’. This is an opaque situation and breeds ambiguity. Should this change?

Yes and no. Yes, because there is merit in stabilising deterrence through overt deployment and transparent capabilities, including a second-strike capability. But this is also a course prohibitively expensive. The two sides neither have the capital nor the technological competence to go this route – not just yet. And no one will gift them to India and Pakistan.

So they have to make do with what they have. This also means they have to work the current ambiguity into the deterrence equation – and work it to their mutual advantage. For Pakistan this means not spelling out a doctrine and keeping the red-lines vague. In other words, ambiguity must be enhanced to deter the adversary. This paradox works the same way as deterrence generally does: to make war less and less possible by making it more and more possible. Indeed, strategy is entirely based on the paradox Romans put forth in the proverb ‘ Si vis pacem, para bellum’ (If you want peace, prepare [for] war).

The important thing, however, is that while there must be ambiguity in relation to what kind of response may attend the crossing of a line (not spelled out), there must be no ambiguity about the capability itself and the will to use it. The ground between ambiguity about the red lines and the projection of capability and the will to use it then needs to be covered with deft signalling. In Pakistan’s case, Lt-Gen Khalid Kidwai’s four broad benchmarks for escalation to the nuclear level to two visiting Italian physicists are a good example of this kind of signalling. They are clear on the capability and the will but vague enough about the red-lines. That’s the combination we are looking for.

On the Indian side, the broad contours of the recently leaked new war doctrine signal to Pakistan that its (Pakistan’s) calculations may not be the final word on the situation. The very audaciousness of the Indian doctrine, which would be meaningless unless underpinned by pre-emption, is an effort to deny Pakistan a linkage between sub-conventional warfare and the nuclear tier while bypassing the middle tier of conventional warfare where India’s advantage lies. In terms of inducing stability, it is not a good effort, though and any implementation of it in a future conflict could destabilise deterrence.


However, one doesn’t know how serious the Indian army is about refining its new concept. The only thing clear at this point is that the kind of coordination such planning would require among various fighting and support arms and services may lie beyond its capability.

In such a scenario, and having travelled some distance along the conflict curve, the supplementary way to stabilise the situation is to address the issues that create the threat perception on both sides. Thus it is important for the current peace process to proceed apace. And within that, nuclear CBMs (risk reduction etc) emerge as a primary issue to be tackled.


From the TFT.


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