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No ‘Cold Start’ doctrine,India tells US

The US had taken up concerns by Pakistan on the perceived ‘Cold Start’ strategy of the Indian Army that envisages rapid deployment of troops on the western border to escalate to a full blown war.

Written by Manu Pubby | New Delhi | Published: September 9, 2010 3:31:13 am

The US had taken up concerns by Pakistan on the perceived ‘Cold Start’ strategy of the Indian Army that envisages rapid deployment of troops on the western border to escalate to a full blown war within days but has been told that such a doctrine does not exist but is a term that has been fabricated by think tanks.

The matter was repeatedly taken up by senior US Defence delegations after Pakistan voiced concerns that diverting more troops to the Afghan border would not be feasible given the Indian ‘Cold Start’ strategy that could bring offensive elements of the Indian Army to its eastern border within four days.

While the US has been assured that no such doctrine exists,the Army has now come on record to say that ‘Cold Start’ is not part of its doctrine. Army Chief General V K Singh has told this newspaper that India’s basic military posture remains defensive.

“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 the recent years,we have been improving our systems with respect to mobilisation,but our basic military posture is defensive,” the Army Chief told The Indian Express.

The ‘Cold Start’ doctrine has been doing the rounds since the conclusion of Op Parakram in 2002 when the Indian Army was asked to mobilise on the Pakistani border after the attack on Parliament. It took the Army almost two months to fully deploy troops. Defence strategists have been 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.

However,General Singh has said while active defence is part of the defensive strategy,India does not have any territorial ambitions. “We are not aggressors; however active defence is part of our defensive strategy. India is a peace loving nation and does not covet any territory,” he said.

While the Pakistani media has been getting shriller about the perceived doctrine,even suggesting several counter doctrines,the Army Chief has now clarified that the term is not a part of the Indian doctrine. “I think that ‘Cold Start’ is just a term bandied about by think tanks and media. It is neither a doctrine nor a military term in our glossary,” he said.

In November 2009,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Washington that ‘Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our country and that is the stated position of the Government of India’. He made the statement after a comment by former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor about the possibility of a ‘limited war under a nuclear overhang’. The government was upset about the comment as Islamabad and Washington raised the issue with the former pointing fingers at India’s ‘aggressive nature’.

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