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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 02 Jun 2010

The Pioneer
Asian Age
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Indian Express
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Asian Age
Indian Express
Asian Age
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
DNA India
DNA India





For now, women can’t be officers in BSF, ITBP, SSB 
New Delhi, June 1 The government has ruled out any women officers post for the select paramilitary forces even as a significant number of women were recently recruited in lower ranks of some of the border guarding forces.  The new notification issued by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which recruits entry-level officers for the Central police forces will make it impossible for any women officer to head the almost 2,000 young women personnel in the combat ranks of three of the border guarding forces.  The UPSC has notified that women applicants for these entry-level officer posts are ineligible for border guarding forces of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Border Security Force (BSF).  “Both males and females are eligible for CISF and CRPF. For SSB, BSF and ITBP only male candidates are eligible,” the notification for recruitment of Assistant Commandants for the five paramilitary forces said on May 29.  Incidentally, the above mentioned forces started recruiting the women constables for their active duties along the borders for the first time since the last year, but the all-women battalions and companies are still commanded by the male officers. The forces had recruited women constables in their ranks with huge fanfare and Home Minister P Chidamabaram had commissioned the maiden women batches for ITBP and BSF.  The government has recently notified the Recruitment Rules for Central Police Forces Assistant Commandants (ACs) Examination 2010, scheduled to be held on October 24 this year. This is the entry-level exam for officers in these forces.  Initially recruited as ACs, the officers rise to become Deputy Commandants and Commandants of an operational company (100 personnel) or a full battalion (1,000 personnel) subsequently.  However, not many are happy with the new rule. "Although, male commanders in the ranks of the Assistant Commandants, Deputy Commandants and Commandants are commanding these women units well, a women commander will surely boost their morale,” a senior Home Ministry officer said. — PTI








Fielding Army against Naxals won’t be easy for govt Force hard-pressed, needs more men 
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 1 The Cabinet Committee on Security that is meeting in next few days has an important decision to make: Whether to deploy the Army to clean out Naxals from their strongholds or not.  Amid the government move to revisit the anti-Naxal strategy, the three Service chiefs today met Defence Minister AK Antony. The 90-minute meeting at the South Block this evening discussed “all dimensions of national security, including the Naxal problem,” said Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar. Apart from Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General VK Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar was also present in the meeting.  Officials said Antony discussed “threadbare” the armed forces’ response on demands for involving them beyond the role of training to central paramilitary and police forces which are currently fighting Naxals.  Sources said sections within the government opine that the Army could be sent in for some specialised operations to aid paramilitary units or be asked to ramp up training facilities. But the shortage of officers in the Army and their current deployment in Jammu and Kashmir and the North- East to fight insurgency will be kept in mind before a final decision is taken. The Lucknow-based Central Command of the Army gave a presentation two weeks ago at the Army Commanders’ Conference on what kind of resources were needed to tackle Naxals.  Sources confirmed that the 1.3-million strong Indian Army would need more men on the ground to dominate the area. Unlike other forces, the Army strategy has been to create a counter-insurgency grid in J& K and the North-East. This includes setting up of its divisions within the area. To start dominating the Naxal bastions, some 5-6 divisions — nearly one lakh men — are immediately needed.








Hizbul Mujahideen militant kills commander, police claims credit
On Monday (May 31), a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant Abdul Latief has surrendered before the security forces after shot dead his commander Chota Bashir during a shootout in Doda district. Chota Bashir was the most wanted militant operating in Doda. CJ: Rattan Sharma   Tue, Jun 01, 2010 12:46:06 IST Views:              13    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes  India News :  Attack on Sri Sri Ravishankar ji IN A case of rivalry between two top militants, a Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant surrendered before the security forces on Monday (May 31) after shooting dead his commander during a shootout in Doda district.   According to sources, Chota Bashir, district commander of the outfit and his newly recruited associate Abdul Latief exchanged fire in Lolore of Dessa area, in which Bashir was killed.  The two turned rivals after Chota Bashir took over as the district commander in Doda following Bashir Lohar's surrender to the army last month.  Latief later surrendered to troops of the 10 Rastriya Rifles (RR) and Special Task Force with an AK rifle and two magazines.  The body of the slain militant Bashir code Intiyaz s/o Noor Din r/o Laloor has been recovered.  The arrested militant Abdul Latief s/o Satar Din r/o Laloor, has been sent to the Joint Interrogation Centre.  Chota Bashir was the most wanted militant who was operating in Doda, Kishtwar and upper reaches of these twin districts. He was involved in various militancy related incidents including killing of many innocent persons in mountainous Doda district.  He had given slip to security forces during various encounters. Of late he had started fresh recruitment of youth in the outfit to replenish the dwindled number of cadres in his militant outfit. However, a handout issued by Zonal Police Headquarters, claimed credit of ultras elimination by police.  “The gun battle between police and ultras continued for several hours resulting in the death of one dreaded terrorist while his associate (newly recruited) surrendered himself before the troops early this morning,” police spokesperson claimed. One AK 47 with two magazines and 50 rounds were recovered from the possession of slain terrorist.  “The killing of this ultra is a great success to the police forces as it will give a severe blow to the outfit in the area. The whole operation was carried out under the proper supervision of SSP Doda who was supervising the operation on spot,” police spokesperson claimed further.








Chiefs discuss anti-Maoist military use
NDTV Correspondent, Tuesday June 1, 2010, New Delhi antonystory.jpgIn recent weeks, India's strategy in dealing with the Naxals has been in focus after a spate of attacks. On Tuesday, Defence Minister AK Antony met the three service chiefs ahead of a crucial meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security that's likely to discuss the anti-Maoist strategy.  The services chiefs discussed the possibility of greater military involvement in fighting the Maoists and the possibility of training central forces at various Army facilities in counter-insurgency operations.  The Air Force said there would be no problem in providing more helicopters. The plan is to have at least 16 helicopters - two each for the eight Naxal-affected states.   But the Defence Minister says that no decision has been taken as yet on whether to use the Army against the Maoists.  "The government will take a decision after carefully examining all the pros and cons of various aspects," Defence Minister Antony said.








Integrated, synergistic approach to coastal security: PM
Press Trust of India / New Delhi June 01, 2010, 21:43 IST  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said coastal and maritime security had assumed great importance after the Mumbai terror strikes and the government was committed to an integrated approach in meeting the challenge.  "Coastal and maritime security has assumed great importance after the terrorist strike in Mumbai. The UPA government is committed to strengthening the coastal security surveillance mechanism," a report card of UPA-II's first year in office released by Singh here said.  "An integrated and synergistic approach has been adopted by involving the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence, Custom, State Marine Police, and other central and state agencies in meeting this challenge," the 68-page Report to the People said.  Singh also said the UPA government was continuing with its focus on modernisation of armed forces and ensuring defence preparedness of the country.  The report card said the raising of two mountain divisions to safeguard the North-Eastern borders and setting up of the second Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya in Bihar were approved.  The modernisation of Rashtriya Rifles was also approved to improve the counter insurgency grid in Jammu and Kashmir.  "Another area being accorded high priority is the development of roads and infrastructure in the high altitude areas," it added.  The report said the government has decided to induct the Indo-Russian joint collaboration 'BrahMos' supersonic cruise missile system, with precision strike capability against land targets. The missile's Block II version was successfully tested last year, after initial failures.  Akash surface-to-air missile system capable of multi-target handling, was also being inducted.  To improve the living conditions of the troops, 48,470 family dwelling units were constructed under the Married Accommodation Project (MAP).  Planning and construction of additional 79,397 houses was in progress, the report said.  It said the government was constantly striving to provide suitable employment for ex-servicemen as also to impart necessary training to prepare them to take on new assignments and jobs. "This has enabled more than 50,000 ex-servicemen to obtain employment during 2009-10," it added.  The health coverage to retired personnel were widened by empanelling more civil hospitals and diagnostic centres. Disabled veterans were now entitled to get prosthetic aid from an additional 49 Central Government Health Scheme centres apart from artificial limb centre at Pune.  The government, it said, accepted a high-powered committee's recommendation to improve welfare and it benefited 12 lakh personnel and an Armed Forces Tribunal was established to provide an appellate forum to aggrieved personnel.









Antony meets Services Chiefs, discusses security 
K.V. Prasad  NEW DELHI: Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday held a meeting with the three Service Chiefs and had a detailed discussion on the security situation, including the Maoist problem.  The 90-minute meeting assumes significance in view of the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) meeting expected to be held later this week. The CCS is likely to decide on a role for the Army in combating the Maoists.  Army Chief General V.K. Singh, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar attended the meeting with the Defence Minister and held a “detailed discussion on all aspects of the security situation in the country,” Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said here.  Ever since the Dantewada incident, in which scores of central police personnel were killed by Maoists, there has been a clamour for a role for the Army, while the Ministry has held the view that the task should be handled primarily by State and Central police.  However, on Monday, Mr. Antony said his Ministry was examining the “pros and cons” of deploying the Army in Maoist-affected areas and refuted reports of differences in the Union Cabinet on the issue.  Training to police  At present, the Army is providing training to police and has so far prepared 47,000 personnel belonging to both the State and Central Police Organisations, including 26,000 from the Central Reserve Police Force.  The training is given at the Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Mizoram or at different Counter Insurgency Training Schools. On some occasions, teams have also visited the police training schools.  A four-week capsule course teaches police personnel how to neutralise improvised explosive devices, carry out patrolling and cordon and search operations, and communications.  The IAF has been providing air support to move supplies and for evacuation. In the past, the air force had sought permission to fire in self-defence after one of its helicopters came under naxal attack and resulted in a casualty.









Govt looks at direct role for Army against Naxals
 Rajat Pandit & Vishwa Mohan, TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 01.04am IST NEW DELHI: The government is veering around to expanding the role of the armed forces in the ongoing anti-Naxal operations, with a hard look even being taken at whether they should be "directly deployed'' in the fight against the Maoists.  While an enhancement of their present surveillance, logistical and training mandate is a certainty, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting likely on Thursday will take the final call on whether to enlist the armed forces in a more direct combat role.  The decision will be influenced as much by political considerations as security imperatives. Yet, the possibility of armed forces being asked to take on the Left-wing extremists is no longer being summarily dismissed like before.  Defence minister A K Antony on Tuesday sounded out the three Service chiefs on the sensitive issue, with the 90-minute meeting with Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K Singh discussing "all dimensions'' of the security situation.  Independent of whether the government decides to push ahead with the idea, the very fact that direct engagement of armed forces is being looked as a serious option is significant.  It marks a critical shift on the part of the government, which had so far shied away from deploying soldiers in the Naxal battle. But a big cause for concern is the increasingly savage and audacious Maoist attacks, which have inflicted heavy casualties on paramilitary forces as well as non-combatants.  In May alone, as many as 172 civilians and 29 security personnel were killed by Naxals, if the derailing of the passenger train in West Midnapore on May 28 is also taken into account.  Though the meeting chaired by Antony examined the "pros and cons of different options'', it's for the CCS to decide on the exact mandate. "But one thing is certain even if the armed forces are deployed in a more direct role, it will be a limited mandate for a limited period,'' said a source.  One possible option could be to divert a few of the 63 battalions of Rashtriya Rifles, the Army's specialised counter-insurgency force operating in Jammu and Kashmir, "for selective missions'' in states worst-affected by Maoist depredations, said sources.  Successive governments have been averse to enlisting the Army in the fight because of the concern that it might lead to a perception about the Indian State not being in control of vast swathes in its own heartland.  There is also the issue of suitability of armed forces, which are trained to kill with heavy force, operating against an adversary who blends into the civilian population and is, in fact, adept at using them as shields.  The top military brass have their own reservations, extending from the lack of familiarity with the terrain and concrete ground-level intelligence to the armed forces being already overstretched in counter-insurgency in J&K and the North-East as well along the long unresolved borders with Pakistan and China.  But underlining the government's resolve to take the battle to Maoists, PM Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said, "In dealing with the challenge of Naxalism, we will pursue a policy that genuinely seeks to address developmental concerns at the grassroots, while firmly enforcing the writ of the state.''  But the dice could still fall either way in the CCS, with the home ministry keen to bolster the fight against the Maoists with "some more help'' from the armed forces but the defence establishment remaining largely reluctant about getting sucked into "yet another internal security duty''.  There has, however, been a significant shift in Antony's position in the last few days, from earlier being a strong opponent of deploying armed forces against Maoists in a direct role to now holding they will "accept'' the government's decision and "implement it with vigour and commitment''.  IAF, on its part, feels it can enhance its "air-support'' beyond the current four Mi-17 helicopters deployed in the region but continues to maintain the use of "offensive airpower'' is not a practical option since it can lead to collateral damage on the ground.  The armed forces, of course, are preparing for the worst-case scenario by finalising action plans to meet any contingency, as reported by TOI last week.  Having already trained around 47,000 paramilitary personnel since 2006 in its counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school in Vairengte and other institutions, the Army is also keen that a separate and dedicated counter-Naxalism training facility be established to train "homogeneous companies'' of police personnel.







2 Army officers fight over top post
By editor Created 1 Jun 2010 - 00:00  The Army’s image is set to take a further beating with an ongoing tussle between two senior lieutenant generals of the Indian Army over appointment to the top post of the tri-services Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS). The tussle, between the Director General of Hospital Services Lt. Gen. Pradeep Bhargava and the Commandant of the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital Lt. Gen. Naresh Kumar is now likely to reach the courts. Lt. Gen. Bhargava is senior to Lt. Gen. Kumar in service. This will be the first controversy of its kind to hit new Army Chief Gen. V.K. Singh who took over earlier this year as chief and comes in the wake of incidents such as the Sukna land scam last year that had dented the Army’s image. The current DGAFMS (Lt. Gen. N.K. Parmar) retires on June 30 this year and the matter has therefore acquired an urgency in government circles. It all started when the Army and ministry of defence (MoD) actively began to consider expunging a numerical grading in a confidential report (CR) of 2005 that would have probably have resulted in Lt. Gen. Kumar becoming DGAFMS. This was being considered on the grounds that one of the numerical gradings that year could be “technically invalid”. Sources said Lt. Gen. Bhargava then complained to the government that such a move would not be in accordance with the “system of good governance that the armed forces represent”. Both the officers had been empanelled for promotion from major-general to lieutenant general in 2008. If the government and Army approve expunging of a grading in one of Lt. Gen. Kumar’s CRs, he could be considered by a review board to have been empanelled in 2007 itself thus making him the front-runner for the post of DGAFMS. This would also mean that Lt. Gen. Bhargava would be superseded. Lt. Gen. Bhargava retires on August 31 this year while Lt. Gen. Kumar retires next year. But appointment to the post of DGAFMS will give them more tenure till they reach the age of 62. But what has added to Lt. Gen. Bhargava’s fears is that the MoD and Army are likely to expunge the numerical grading, resulting in Lt. Gen. Kumar becoming the new DGAFMS. Lt. Gen. Bhargava is now likely to petition the armed forces tribunal against any such move.








No women as officers of border forces, says government
By IANS June 1st, 2010  NEW DELHI - Women cannot be appointed as officers in the three border guarding forces — Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), according to the union home ministry’s latest rules.  This is despite the fact that the same recruitment rules provide for recruitment of women officers in the country’s largest central paramilitary force under the home ministry - Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) - and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).  The three border-guarding forces have made women ineligible to hold officers’ post despite the fact that they, along with CRPF and CISF, have recruited women in large numbers in their constabulary and as lower rank officials.  “Both male and female candidates will be eligible for this examination, but female candidates will be considered for appointment to CRPF and CISF only,” said the latest recruitment rules, notified by the union home ministry on May 29 for recruitment of assistant commandants in the five CPMFs.  The notification signed by home ministry’s Director (Personnel) clarified: “A female candidate, even if her name is there in the list of successful candidates as declared by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), may not be appointed if she does not get allocated to CRPF or CISF on the basis of merit and choice indicated by successful candidates.”  The rules were notified for recruitment of assistant commandants, the entry-level officers, in the five CPMFs through a competitive examination to be conducted in October this year.  The three border guarding forces began recruiting constables since last year for active duties along the borders but the all-women battalions and companies are still commanded by male officers.  The forces had opened their doors to women amid huge popular applause last year, when Home Minister P. Chidambaram had commissioned the maiden women batches for ITBP and BSF.  While the BSF, guarding Pakistan and Bangladesh borders, has about 700 women in its ranks, the SSB, which secures the Nepal and Bhutan borders, has a sanctioned strength of 763 women constables. The ITBP, deployed along the Sino-Indian border, recruited about 354 women.  The rules notified for recruitment of assistant commandants also says women found pregnant during the Physical Efficiency Test will be ineligible.  “Pregnancy at the time of PET will be a disqualification and pregnant female candidate will be rejected,” said the rules.







Army Revs up ‘Cold Start’
By MP Anil Kumar Issue: Vol 25.2 Apr-Jun 2010  Mighty Athens had set out to quash the puny but independent-minded island of Melos during the Peloponnesian War. Overcome by the urge of self-preservation, the Melians begged to the canons of fair play and honour. The Athenians sneered, “The strong do as they will and the weak suffer as they must.” And suffer they did — all alone.  The Pune German Bakery blast on February 13th rent the air of uneasy calm prevailing post-26/11. The Kabul guesthouse attacks on February 26th were another reminder, for those Indians wearing blinkers that India is at war with radicalised militants. With more terror attacks on the horizon, the Union government must be riffling through the options on the table to counter Pakistan-bred terrorism. Since Pakistan is going to be the darling of the international community till the US-led coalition forces decamp Afghanistan, India’s diplomatic leverage is bound to be severely circumscribed. The consequent inflamed passions will trigger discussions on the military options to teach Pakistan a lesson, and one phrase that’s going to rebound unceasingly is ‘Cold Start’.  Deterrence Versus Pre-emptive Action  Few months after the November 26th seaborne invasion of Mumbai, I had an absorbing colloquy with Adity Sharma, a student doing her MA in international relations in the USA. Here I paraphrase her point: It’s but natural for an aspirant India, dreaming big about global stardom, to endeavour for greater influence in Asia first before spreading its soft power elsewhere. Forget Asia, first India needs to pull her weight to exert reasonable influence in her backyard — a hostile neighbourhood. For that, India needs to evolve an effective strategy of deterrence or wield the pre-emptive sword to thwart terror attacks with Pakistani imprimatur.  But! though they will almost definitely face elimination in the long run, terrorists are not rational creatures, and therefore incapable of seeing reason. Thus, deterrence will most likely fail to prevent them from acting against the state. And the efficacy of deterrence is further frustrated when the opponent does not deem the threat credible.  Now, will it be more practicable for India to employ pre-emptive action that she can justify as self-defence to the world? Here the Pakistan Army will threaten to unsheathe nuclear weapons to stave off any Indian pre-emptive move.  International Law  Article 51 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter provides for the right of countries to engage in military action in self-defence, including collective self-defence (under a coalition). The law however does not specify about the type of attack that would give the state the justification to retaliate in self-defence. What is implicit is the victim of an armed attack has the right to employ military force against the aggressor after informing the Security Council. The use of force obviously has to be in tune with the principle of proportionality, and employed within a reasonable time frame.  Also Read: Warning Signals from POK  Article 51 was famously cited by the US in support of the Vietnam War.  In India’s case, Pakistan is the host state where from the terrorists operate unhindered. The terrorist groups have been at it, with the connivance of the state (Pak Army), for ages. That the Pakistani Government is clearly disinclined to trammel them only bolsters India’s argument to attack these venomous groups.  In December 2007, Turkey attacked the strongholds of the militant ethnic separatist group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party; PKK, a terrorist organisation blacklisted by the UN and others, founded in the late-1970s to create an independent Kurdish state, has since been engaged in an armed struggle against Turkey). Turkey claimed to the world that the Iraqi government had proven incapable of shackling the rebels, which amply justified its counterstrike on PKK.  You do not get better evidence of Pakistani complicity than Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani national caught alive during the 26/11 terrorist attack. If India had chosen to launch surgical strikes ensuing 26/11, it could have done so under international law. And it would have been deemed proportional, timely.  Cold Start, A Primer  If one were to go by the recent commentaries of stalwarts across the border, Cold Start seems to have produced some cold sweat over there. So what is Cold Start?  Following the terrorist attack on our Parliament on December 13, 2001, the Union government ordered the armed forces to mobilise for action along the Indo–Pak border. Known as Operation Parakram, the mobilisation was so tardy that it took almost three weeks for even Indian Army’s elite strike corps to move to its op locations after ‘action stations’ was sounded.  What is informally known as the Sundarji doctrine had become the keystone of Indian Army’s war plan since the early-1980s. The three offensive ‘strike corps’ — I, II and later XXI Corps — based at Mathura, Ambala and Bhopal respectively, each with an orbat of an armoured division as spearhead, two mechanised infantry divisions in echelon, an artillery brigade, an air defence artillery brigade, engineer brigade and services, formed the heavy-duty sword-arm. Seven defensive ‘holding corps’ each comprising infantry and mechanised divisions, an armoured brigade, an artillery brigade and services, were deployed near the Indo–Pak border to foil Pakistani forays.  Also Read: Unprepared and Unwilling  The Sundarji doctrine hinged on whopping conventional retaliation through the knockout blows executed by the three strike corps, which, under IAF’s air cover, would engage and destroy the Pakistan Army’s two strike corps (Mangla-based Army Reserve North and Multan-based Army Reserve South) in a ‘high-intensity battle of attrition’. Thereafter, the Army would press on to cleave Pakistan’s midriff into two.  Down the line, the doctrine underwent a policy nudge: instead of deep thrusts and high manoeuvres with mechanised forces, the focus shifted to inflicting maximum damage to the enemy forces, especially high-value targets.  The Op Parakram experience exposed five major flaws in the Sundarji doctrine:      * Lack of strategic surprise as the strike corps took too long to deploy, and gave the Pakistan Army enough time to counter-mobilise;     * The firepower was concentrated with the strike corps, the holding corps lacked it;     * The gargantuan size of the strike corps hindered its agility and its mobilisation turned out to be a logistical nightmare;     * The doctrine was found wanting to script a quicksilver riposte to terrorist attacks;     * It did not factor in the ever-ready-to-use nuclear arsenal of Pakistan.  What is the solution? Even as full mobilisation of the armed forces is set in motion, a chunk of the Army, with the aid of IAF, must have the capacity and capability to launch prompt incursions at rattling pace to deliver deathblows on enemy targets, but the onslaught should not be deadly enough to compel Pakistan to punch the nuclear button. Cold Start essentially embodies this war-fighting strategy. Cold Start, an offensive exercise, reverses India’s historic defensive military posture. By entrenching the tenet of broad front offensive-shallow penetration, it overthrows the narrow front-deep penetration credo of the Sundarji doctrine.  Also Read: Radical Islam: Terror is the tool  Unveiled in April 2004, Cold Start is a limited-war doctrine, a terrestrial-cum-aerial blitzkrieg that confines the conflict within the nuclear ‘red lines’. It envisages the creation of eight Division-sized Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) — carved out of the existing holding corps on the western front (less XIV, XV and XVI Corps based in Jammu and Kashmir) and also the strike corps — each IBG made up of independent/rapid armoured brigade, mechanised infantry, self-propelled artillery, missile-defence battery and backed by close air support, capable of executing multiple strikes using overwhelming firepower, to take the Pakistan Army by surprise and to inflict considerable damage on it within, say, four days. The Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, to a query from the press corps, confirmed this: “The plan now is to launch self-contained and highly mobile battle groups adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours.”  The holding corps, re-designated as pivot corps, would be reinforced with extra brawn so as to undertake limited offensive operations and strike few crippling blows of its own.  The pivot corps and IBGs would be stationed closer to the border to minimise logistical requirements and to enhance their ability to surprise. Besides, these division-sized units can be alerted and mobilised quicker than corps. Simultaneous attack from eight different directions should leave the Pakistan military leadership at sixes and sevens, and there through degrade their decision-making ability. Having eight formations to monitor instead of three should put the recce at intelligence resources of Pakistan at full strain, which should further the chances of achieving surprise. Moreover, heavens forbid, if Pakistan scrambles to nuke, division-sized formations would be smaller targets than corps-sized ones.  Given Pakistan’s proclaimed itch to nuke India, the Indian Army expects the US-led international community to intercede to halt the hostilities. During the post-ceasefire negotiations, India expects to extract iron clad undertaking from Pakistan to quell its homegrown terrorists in exchange for the territorial gains it made.  Pakistan, of course, can be expected to claim that India’s Cold Start warfare would have a destabilising effect on the subcontinent. Apart from formulating an ‘antidote’ to Cold Start, Pakistan would begin to rely even more on its nuclear arms to clip India’s conventional upper hand. Pakistan can also be expected to redraw and lower the nuclear red lines besides essaying to miniaturise nuclear warhead and putting its nuclear forces under a higher state of alert.  To-do Items  The first instances of fielding irregulars as force-multipliers perhaps took place during Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808 and Russia in 1812. Of late, the Israel Defence Forces had to bear the brunt of the militiamen — Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The Pakistan Army has diligently fathered and nurtured irregular fighters as frontline ‘assets’ to confront the Indian forces. The Indian military planners have to factor the menace posed by these wildcard warriors.  With time, the distinction between strike corps and pivot corps must diminish and disappear, to enable the remodelled corps to carry out both offensive and defensive operations. This way, the combat potential of the Indian Army could be harnessed fully.  The armed forces have to stockpile NBC equipment and enhance training to familiarise troops to operate in an NBC contaminated area.  The Nuclear Battleground  Nuclear weapons are not meant to fight wars, but Pakistan does not seem to believe so and its army thinks they are playthings to be pulled out at the first swoosh of gunshot. So let us analyse whether India can undertake limited conventional operations against Pakistan without triggering a nuclear response.  Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are primarily meant to blunt India’s conventional edge. Since Pakistan, unlike India, has no ‘no-first-use’ policy, and since it has not ruled out employing nukes in response to a conventional assault, the only unequivocal policy outline hitherto comes from retired Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, boss of Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division. He enunciated, “If, India overruns large swathes of Pakistan territory; India destroys a large part of Pakistan’s land or air forces; India blockades Pakistan in an effort to strangle it economically; or India pushes Pakistan into a state of political destabilisation or creates large-scale internal subversion in the country.”  The Indo–Pak border can be demarcated into four geographically and demographically distinct sectors or theatres:      * The Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir;     * South J&K and Punjab plains;     * North and Central Rajasthan; and     * South Rajasthan and Gujarat.  Right from south Jammu to central Rajasthan, the terrain either side of the Indo–Pak border is marked by natural and manmade obstacles like canals and dhussi called ditch-cum-bund (DCB) — the subcontinent’s own Maginot Line. These DCBs are dotted with well-concealed concrete bunkers with ample defensive firepower. The DCBs thus render large-scale mechanised operations well-nigh impossible.  For the fear of alienating the Muslim population of J&K, the use of nuclear weapons there by Pakistan can more or less be ruled out.  The vast majority of the military, bureaucratic and political plutocrats of Pakistan belong to heartland Punjab, and therefore it is highly unlikely that the Pakistan Army would use nukes for tactical gains as an Indian nuclear reprisal would devastate their home province. Moreover, much of the DCBs and bulwark of concrete bunkers should survive a nuclear attack, and therefore counterproductive from military perspective, and only a gormless Fuehrer would bang the nuclear button. Furthermore, the RAPIDs — Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Division (attached to the holding corps in Punjab and Rajasthan) — are equipped with very dependable C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) system, kitted with NBC gear and stocked with decontamination vehicles/aids, and therefore capable of functioning in an environment dirtied by NBC attack.  Further south, the horizontal landscape of the Thar Desert and Rann of Kutch present the ideal terrain for a fierce Indo-Pak armoured combat. That there is little scope of collateral damage will make it an ideal backdrop for tactical nuclear warfare. But the sandy landmass of Thar and the peat bogs and saline marshland of Kutch have little strategic importance. In sum, as long as India limits her territorial gains in this segment, even an ultra-jingoistic Pak General would find it impossible to justify the use of nuclear weapons for tactical gains.   Pakistan could deem any breach of its water courses in the north-to-central Rajasthan theatre an existential threat and therefore could rattle the nuclear sabre, but by once again limiting the territorial gains — say an inroad of 50-60 km (even 80 km) abutting Pakistan — India can parry Pakistan’s nuclear brinkmanship.  Also Read: Rain of terror on India  What we deduce from above is that India can theoretically manage a lightning campaign without providing Pakistan the excuse of infringement to its territorial sovereignty to launch a nuclear attack on India.  Cold Start, A Reality Check  The billion-rupee question is whether India has inbuilt capacity to pull off Cold Start. Chew on these:      * Success of any military action, needless to say, will depend on the element of surprise. So, timing is all-important. Does our politico-bureaucratic-military establishment have the synergy, clarity of thought and swiftness of decision-making?     * The German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke is credited to have said that the first casualty on the first contact with the enemy is the battle plan! Does the Indian Army have a Plan B up its sleeve in case the military campaign goes awry?     * The Sundarji doctrine owes its conceptual framework to AirLand Battle — spelled out in the US Army’s Field Manual FM 100-5 — which formed the basis of US Army’s European war-fighting doctrine from 1982 to the late-1990s. Similarly, Battle Groups are an old NATO concept in which offensive operations were carried out at three levels. And Cold Start is simply a rehash of the lightning war propounded by German officers — Lieutenant Colonel Ernst Volckheim initially and fine-tuned by General Heinz Wilhelm Guderian — and demonstrated by the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War.  Well, I have no pathological dislike for employing borrowed doctrines; after all, why reinvent the wheel? The hitch here is the mismatch between these western doctrines and the preponderant Russian hardware. The old Soviet and Russian machines were made to be in sync with the Russian war doctrine — a massive, turbo swoop down to pulverise its European rivals with the sheer force of numbers. Those machines are meant to work in dustless battlefield, cold climate, etc. India is different.      * Neglect by successive governments has led to the reduction in force levels as well as firepower vis-à-vis Pakistan. Since we committed ourselves, with characteristic bravado, to no-first-use policy, we ought to have inflated our conventional deterrence. Capacity building takes years, even decades, through astute planning and acquisition. (And because of the above, we need to crank up designing and producing our own battle equipment.)  Forget the absent strategic culture, there is dearth of defence planning at the strategic level too. Since the advent of the UPA Government, more so with AK Antony at the helm of the defence ministry, there has been nil procurement/upgrade of any major weapon system through competitive tendering. All acquisitions have been pushed through government-to-government and other single-vendor contracts. Conservative estimate puts the cost approximately 25 percent more than it would have cost in competitive bidding! Antony’s narcissistic obsession with his ‘spotlessly clean’ image (he is reported to have told his babus to give the thumbs down to any acquisition at the first whiff of suspicion, never mind if a rival dealer planted the fib) has acutely hamstrung the modernisation of the forces. Burnishing his Mr Clean image further seems to be his only concern.  The fits-and-starts modernisation, paralysis in acquisition especially in procuring self-propelled guns and howitzers, have dwindled the firepower and slackened the mobility.      * From what has been going on (Pakistan’s pledge to slow-bleed India through a thousand cuts), it is evident that Pakistan is unimpressed with either of the Indian options (deterrence and pre-emptive action). Pakistan believes that India’s conventional superiority, semblance of international clout and desperate measures can all be nixed through nuclear blackmail. Let us be honest: presently India does not possess the hard and soft power required to arm-twist or influence the military establishment in Pakistan into stanching the terror flow. India obviously needs to do the hard yards to infuse fright in her glare and credibility in her threat. To overcome the power deficit, she has to plug her capability gaps: build military sinews, boost economic power exponentially, strengthen diplomatic muscle, scale up policing and intelligence gathering, shed bureaucratic-military sloth, cultivate political unanimity, sew up communal and other fissures, synergise the functioning of governmental agencies charged with counterterrorism.     * The Indian Army and the IAF have conducted several exercises, viz. Divya Astra, Vajra Shakti, Desert Strike, Sanghe Shakti and Brazen Chariots, to assess/validate Cold Start manoeuvres. So, how close or far are we from operationalising Cold Start? I’m afraid, we are years away. This is because of several reasons.  The IAF dreams of establishing itself as a continental air force. It has its own independent and grand strategies to stretch its wings. Italian General Giulio Douhet and later British Air Chief Marshal Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris had pioneered the idea of strategic bombing in aerial warfare, i.e. bombing the living daylights out of the enemy by battering his centres of gravity (where enemy is most vulnerable, attack there has a good chance of contributing to a decisive outcome). The IAF, despite the depletion in fighter squadron strength, still fancies reigniting the Douhet-Harris firestorm. Close air support, consequently, figures low in IAF’s priority.  It is no secret that the inter-services turf wars are fought with as much loyalty and devotion as the real wars. The Cold Start doctrine was born out of the Army’s womb, not out of tri-services’ (Integrated Defence Staff) labour. No wonder then that, despite the aforementioned combined exercises, the army and the air force are not on the same wavelength. Will the IAF earmark and dedicate a chunk of its combat assets for Cold Start air support? Guess.      * Given the mind-boggling logistics involved in mobilising the forces, to speed up mobilisation, it is imperative to shift the garrisons and cantonments closer to the border. The army has just set the ball rolling. Though the Indian Railways is forthcoming (Op Parakram was an exception), it cannot provide the army the stock to validate the mobilisation of inland forces in actual trials.     * Lastly, the army has only begun to internalise the Cold Start doctrine.  Cold Start and the Nuclear Deadfall  During the Kargil war, Pakistan had explicitly brandished the nuclear-threat, but the top brass at the Services HQ dismissed this nuclear machismo; they believed Pakistan had to be downright daffy to use nukes and invite annihilation. Kargil was about the recapture of Indian territory furtively occupied by Pakistan. Though significant territorial gains are highly unlikely in a limited war, Cold Start involves capture of Pakistani territory to be used as a bargaining chip (with the destruction of Pakistan’s war-waging potential as the secondary goal).   Also Read: Tactical Shifts in the Terror Profile   Now, this is a combustible issue as no self-respecting nation will swallow territorial loss to its sworn archrival, that too a country dismembered by the selfsame archrival. Even if heavyweight peacemakers are parachuted down in time, Pakistan will perforce have to vacate the territorial seizure. This will lead to an intensified war of attrition, which Pakistan forces will lose ultimately.  Though military theorists have propounded their take on nuclear thresholds, as human beings are unpredictable, lose rationality and panic easily, these models carry little certitude outside seminar halls, certainly not in a battlefield engulfed by the ‘fog of war’ and the fear of defeat. I believe this would be the stage where any laager of Indian armour inside Pakistani territory would invite nuclear attack to stave off the stigma of another trouncing.  Further, to expect Pakistan to play ball in post-conflict resolution is being dim-witted. Therefore, I’m sceptical about our ability to pull off the Cold Start doctrine as it is too risky as you cannot predict/shape its future course, without letting the blaze to blow up into an uncontainable inferno or even nuclear holocaust.  The Better Military Option  Let us assume the Pakistan Army continues to thumb its nose at India’s ‘coercive diplomacy’ and machinates another provocative terrorist attack (Kasab capture ruined its party, hence it will not risk using Pak nationals, prefer Indian operatives). Let us also assume the Union Government grows a spine and pulls its finger out. What is the best military option available?  Like a true fighter pilot, I will argue for employing air power instead of betting on short-swift armoured lunges with an eye to barter/extract an indemnity of peace, milk and honey later. The IAF and the Special Forces can be tasked to target the terror nurseries as well as the hideouts of terror-mentors. The IAF has acquired the capabilities of pinpoint targeting and delivery, precision-guided munitions and standoff weapons to do its devoir.  If our intelligence is hot, the IAF should hit targets accurately. If we manage the media and PR blitz adroitly, my instinct says Pakistan, despite jingoistic public-media pressure, will think ten times before launching a counter, as that will mean all-out war. Despite the Pakistani bluster, this writer thinks Pak will not want to escalate the hostilities. Even if there is a Pakistani retaliation, the reactions are predictable, and therefore the fallout could be contained.  Cold Start Plus  Cold Start is just past its toddlerhood, yet to evolve into an adult. Though I debunked the reliance of territorial capture, there is one scenario in which it should work to at — the Line of Control. Mind you, the troops manning the counter-insurgency grid in the state have sizeable artillery assets to back them. Cold Start should be effective in few sectors along the LoC. Roughly six brigades there can swing into action right away. It should take at least four days for the Pakistan Army to mobilise its forces from the Durand Line to the LoC. This time frame should be adequate for our formations along the International Border (IB) to mobilise and be at full cock.  The lay of the land south of Jammu should make the Shakargarh Bulge another inviting sector. The forces deployed here can strike as well as provide cover to the National Highway 1A (Jalandhar-Srinagar) — our lifeline. This manoeuvre is also meant to take advantage of the Pakistani reluctance to activate the IB.  Keeping the risk of nuclear warfare in mind, the objective of the formations along the IB must be twofold:      * Conquer an area that isn’t large enough to threaten Pakistan’s existence but large enough to compel Pakistan to commit its forces;     * Inflict maximum possible devastation on the adversary within few days, with the least collateral damage to Pakistani civilians.  With a chunk of its military machine laid waste, the Pakistan Army’s chutzpah to bleed India through terror outfits should evaporate, and a basket case like Pakistan would find it arduous to rebuild its military capability. With the Pakistan Army on the mat, the post-conflict settlement should benefit India.  Also Read: Solution to the Pakistani terrorist quagmire  Deterrence versus Pre-emptive Action, Revisited  I think a deft blend of deterrence and punitive action (the Americans have screwed up and discredited the pre-emptive doctrine) can worst the ongoing proxy war. Pakistan will buckle under only if India is able to raise the costs of Pakistani malfeasance and make the merchants of jihadi terrorism feel the pain.  Despite India’s remonstrations, Pakistani Government continues to drag its feet and treat the 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Muhammad Saeed like its son-in-law. What if this charade goes on? Maybe the time has come to think of covert operation to bump off mass murderer Hafiz Saeed, even flagitious Maulana Masood Azhar. The Mossad-style do-it-yourself hit job is unnecessary here as there are enough Cosa Nostra-like syndicates who will do it for a price, without leaving the spoor.  Notes  1.    A Cold Start for Hot Wars? by Walter C Ladwig III  2.    The Nuclear Battlefield — India vs Pakistan (Author not known)  3.    Bharat Rakshak website  4.    Wikipedia   MP Anil Kumar, an ex Mig-21 fighter pilot, was paraliysed below neck at the young age of 24 in a road accident. He is a prolific writer who handles the keyboard with his mouth.


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