Understanding India | Farrukh Saleem


1984-2004: The Sundarji Doctrine – named after General Krishnaswamy Sundarji – comprised a total of seven ‘holding corps’ (or defensive corps) and three ‘strike corps’ or offensive corps). The ‘holding corps’ were placed close to the Pakistani border while the ‘strike corps’ were based in central India.

The ‘strike corps’ – I Corps (Mathura), II Corps (Ambala) and XXI Corps (Bhopal) – were made up of mechanised infantry and artillery. For the record, the strike corps were tasked to “penetrate deep into Pakistani territory” through “sledgehammer blows in a high intensity battle” with the goal of “cutting Pakistan into two”.

December 13, 2001: At 11:30am, five terrorists armed with AK47 rifles, grenades and grenade launchers managed to infiltrate Parliament House. The gun battle that ensued killed 14 people. Within minutes of the attack, the Indian government blamed two Pakistan-based terror groups.

Operation Parakram: By January 2002, the Indians mobilised around 500,000 troops and three armoured divisions next to the border. In response, the Pakistan Army also deployed around 300,000 troops.

Failure of the Sundarji Doctrine: It took the Indian Army 28 days to mobilise during which Pak Army laid down an affective defence. The Sundarji Doctrine failed because the long mobilisation lacked the all important element of a surprise. The cost of mobilisation to the Indians was $3.2 billion and $1.4 billion for the Pakistan Army.

2004-2014: After the failure of the Sundarji Doctrine, Indian generals formulated a new military doctrine – cold start. The new military doctrine did not require long mobilisation and comprised eight Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) conducting offensive operations to invade Pakistan for ‘shallow gains’ (as opposed to the ‘deep penetration’ under the Sundarji Doctrine).

Failure of cold start: The Pakistan Army’s response to the cold start doctrine was at two levels: operational and strategic. At the operational level, a new ‘war fighting concept’ was introduced (architect: Major-General Bilal Akbar) and tested in Azm-e-Nau exercises. At the strategic level, a ballistic missile carrying a sub-kiloton nuclear warhead, Hatf IX Nasr, was deployed that checkmated the cold start doctrine.

May 26, 2014: Narendra Modi assumed the office of the prime minister of India and gave birth to the Modi-Doval Doctrine. The new doctrine has three main components. Component 1 – a diplomatic offensive to isolate Pakistan (Saarc pull-out, for instance). Component 2 – buying anti-Pakistan terrorist organisations with ‘money, weapons and manpower’ and using proxies to create chaos within Pakistan (TTP and Baloch Liberation Organization, for instance). Component 3 – placing the Pakistan Army into a nut-cracker; LoC violations in tandem with an instable Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

For the record: the Indian Army has long been dreaming and planning to do three things: invading Pakistan, splitting Pakistan into two and destroying Pak Army’s war fighting capability. The Sundarji Doctrine-that planned to split Pakistan into two-died its own death, under its own weight. The Cold Start Doctrine – which planned to invade Pakistani territory-was killed by Pakistan’s Hatf IX Nasr, multi-tube, solid fuelled tactical battlefield ballistic missiles.

Red alert: Pakistan is yet to counter the Modi-Doval Doctrine. And Pakistan needs to counter every component of the Modi-Doval Doctrine. And for that to happen it has to be a joint civil-military undertaking.

To be certain, as long as India remains stuck to threatening military doctrines this region shall remain devoid of peace.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.

Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com Twitter: @saleemfarrukh