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Strategic Delusions - The Cold Start Doctrine: Proactive Strategy

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The inimical rivalry between South Asian neighbors, India and Pakistan since their inception into statehood, has resulted in four major wars, countless border skirmishes, and continual interference. Notwithstanding ground realities, both states have remained perpetually entwined in an arms race to outdo each other in the political, social, economic, and diplomatic arenas internally, regionally, and internationally. Despite, their entry into the established realm of nuclear club, which should have introduced a degree of deterrent certainty, the ground reality has not changed much. The introduction of Cold Start Doctrine Proactive Strategy, i.e. a limited war under a nuclear overhang, by the Indian Army has had the effect of negatively escalating the fragile balance between the two nuclear-armed states. Ironically, this strategy has gained a fair degree of currency in academic circles, bordering on the possibility of strategys applicability. Theoretically, the Proactive Strategy enables for attaining politico-military objectives in a very short span of time, while remaining below the nuclear threshold. However, it merits critical review under the constraints of realistic strategic assumptions, operational responses, and more importantly, the strategys premise of remaining limited in nature. To this end, two case studies, the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan and the 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks, demonstrate the inability of the Cold Start Doctrine Proactive Strategy in attainment of politico-military objectives as well as keeping a future war between India and Pakistan, below the nuclear threshold. The findings, analysis, and conclusions substantiate the fact, that the Cold Start Doctrine Proactive Strategy is not the answer to attainment of politico-military objectives in the case of Indian and Pakistan.

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