Pakistani experts urged the authorities to take immediate notice of Indian Armed Forces Joint Doctrine (IAFJD) 2017, which indicates that New Delhi sees both China and Pakistan as direct military threats and plans to explicitly conduct “surgical strikes” as a formal part of India’s retaliatory toolkit. This validates the existence of India’s ‘Cold Start’ military doctrine and clearly highlights a shift in the nuclear strategy by shifting from credible minimum deterrence (CMD) to credible deterrence (CD).
This was stated by the speakers at a panel discussion on “Indian Armed Forces Joint Doctrine 2017: A Critical Appraisal”, organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) on Wednesday, Pakistan media reported.
It also offered a new picture of how India separated the control of its nuclear weapons between its military and the civilian authorities, the report said.
IPRI President Ambassador (r) Abdul Basit, said that despite the grave importance of reviewing the IAFJD, not much attention had been given to the subject in Pakistan. He said that due to the potential shifts in India’s nuclear strategy, the presentation of its nuclear strategy in the doctrine was alarming since it had opted to use the terms “credible deterrence” instead of “credible minimum deterrence”.
Senior Pakistani Defence Analyst Air Commodore (r) Khalid Banuri highlighted that the Indian doctrine’s focus on determining and/or preventing conflict through a process of credible deterrence, coercive diplomacy and punitive destruction was alarming, and warned that while mentioning “minimum” in the credible deterrence formulation was a very problematic development, it was also unclear what precise changes were being envisioned by India.
He said that the document’s language was highly ambiguous, especially in the absence of an autonomous office of the Indian Joint Chief of Staff chairman. Banuri said that this doctrine should be viewed in the broader context of the wave of ultra-nationalism that was sweeping the globe and was being spearheaded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in South Asia.
He cautioned that the doctrine went beyond the focus on traditional military imperatives since India wanted to use diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions backed by a projection of the military force, a strategy that India said was important for “maintaining peace through the show of force.”
“The fact that India’s future operational or C2 philosophy would ‘not rely upon precise control’, and may be able to ‘function despite uncertainty and disorder was also a cause for great concern since this may lead to hasty decisions based on limited information,” Banuri remarked.
Furthermore, he also cautioned that Pakistan should be wary of a changing mood in New Delhi vis-à-vis the issue of ‘no first use’ as statements made by key Indian politicians, strategists and academics like Vipin Narang give a clear idea that India would not allow Pakistan to go first, and may, in fact, opt for a full ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ to completely disarm Pakistan of its nuclear weapons, the report said.