Six years after India conducted a series of nuclear tests in 1998, strategy the Indian Army issued its conventional war fighting doctrine called the Indian Army Doctrine 2004. The doctrine, which later came to be known as ‘Cold Start’, drew a lot of attention in the strategic circles. Moving away from its decades old defensive posturing along the international border with Pakistan, the Army now adopted a more offensive approach. The shift was palpable: from deterrence via denial to coercion via offence. The shift is also puzzling because it occurred in a nuclear backdrop. If nuclear weapons bolster deterrence, then offensive conventional military doctrines, prima facie, appear anachronistic.
February 2015, volume 39, No 2