Pakistan and India are on the brink of nuclear war following India’s plans to deploy 460 high-tech battle tanks along its border with Pakistan. The deployment of the tanks is said to mark the start of implementation of India’s long-hyped Cold Start military strategy.
“If ever our national security is threatened by advancing foreign forces, Pakistan will use all of its weapons — and I mean all of our weapons — to defend our country.”
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Deploying 460 advanced battle tanks along its border with Pakistan would allow India to launch an attack against Pakistan almost immediately.
The Cold Start strategy has been discussed for years, but India has denied its existence at different times. While many of the strategy’s details remain top secret, the main objective is to make India capable of carrying out lightning blitzkrieg-style military operations against Pakistan at any given time.
Will the Cold Start strategy trigger a nuclear war?
With Islamabad being prepared to take up its own nuclear weapons as revenge on India for the potential consequences of its Cold Start military strategy, tensions between them have reached a new high.
The strategy will enable New Delhi to perform a military operation with conventional weapons on Pakistan soil at any given time. In other words, India will be able to immediately retaliate for a terror attack or the killing of its soldiers along its border with Pakistan.
With its current military strategy, India cannot launch such an attack in less than a few weeks. This prevents it from carrying out attacks against Pakistan, as Islamabad would have time to prepare a nuclear counterattack if it finds out about New Delhi’s plans for an attack against it. With the Cold Start strategy, however, India would be prepared to attack Pakistan almost immediately. Thus, New Delhi would be able to meet its military objective within a week, which is not enough time for Islamabad to launch nuclear retaliatory strikes.
How serious are Pakistan’s nuclear threats?
It’s not the first time Pakistan has threatened to use nuclear weapons against India. However, whenever Islamabad reiterates its first-use nuclear doctrine, it almost always results in an escalation of tensions with India
In September, Pakistan threatened to use nukes against India after 19 Indian soldiers were killed by militants in the disputed Kashmir region. Since then, tensions between the two countries have been running high, with frequent military provocations taking place in Kashmir.
However, this time, Pakistan’s nuclear threats serve as a dangerous wake-up call. The Pakistani official’s comments quoted by the Financial Times came in the context of India’s Cold Start military strategy. Earlier this month, India’s new chief of army staff finally publicly acknowledged the existence of the strategy.
The Cold Start military doctrine has been discussed for years, with the Indian government largely denying its existence. Political experts believe the strategy hasn’t been fully implemented because it would be financially challenging for the country.
To fully implement the Cold Start military strategy, India requires high-tech advanced military hardware, including tanks and attack helicopters. It also requires the Indian army to have advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that it just doesn’t have.
Pakistan vows to “destroy” India with nuclear weapons
Even though India already has an impressive tank force deployed along its border with Pakistan, almost all of them are equipped with obsolete, decades-old technology. That’s why India has been so eager to purchase hundreds of advanced tanks from Russia.
Despite the fact that Russia’s relations with Pakistan have improved lately, Moscow, which is India’s key weapons supplier, continues to provide India high-tech military hardware and weaponry. Moscow and New Delhi still enjoy close military ties, with India constantly striving to purchase the newest advanced military creations.
The recently reported deal between Russia and India for hundreds of advanced tanks suggests New Delhi is finally starting to implement its long-hyped Cold Start military strategy.
Relations between India and Pakistan reached their lowest in decades in 2016 following the killing of 19 Indian soldiers in Kashmir. After the terror attack in Uri, India claimed it had carried out “surgical strikes” against Pakistan, which prompted Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaj Asif to pledge that Islamabad would “destroy India if it dares to impose war on us.”
“Pakistan’s army is fully prepared to answer any misadventure of India. We have not made atomic devices to display in a showcase,” he said. “If such a situation arises we will use it [nuclear weapons] and eliminate India.”
Unintended potential consequence of Cold Start: nuclear war
Political experts in both India and Pakistan are worried the Cold Start strategy could have the unintended consequence of triggering a nuclear war.
In fact, the new Indian military strategy does make a nuclear war more likely. Many experts are worried that in a conflict as tense and heated as that between India and Pakistan, there is no real definition of a conventional conflict. Nuclear weapons are still weapons, and both Islamabad and New Delhi are willing to do anything – even risk massive retaliation involving nukes – to destroy their traditional enemy.
Critics of the Cold Start strategy say it is based on a very questionable assumption that rapid attacks against Pakistan would deter the latter from carrying out nuclear attacks in retaliation. The objective of India’s new military doctrine is to be able to launch a rapid military action against Pakistan without risking a nuclear war. Many question the rationality of this strategy.