Cold Start: The Life Cycle of a Doctrine
Ali Ahmed a
a Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution Jamia
Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
To cite this article: Ali Ahmed (2012): Cold Start: The Life Cycle of a Doctrine, Comparative Strategy,
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01495933.2012.731964
India’s conventional war doctrine has been extensively discussed over the past decade.
It has been dubbed Cold Start, though the term has been dropped from usage recently.
The article discusses India’s limited-war doctrine in its origin, impetus behind it, tenets,
and reasons for the current distancing from the doctrine. The doctrine was India’s
rekindling of its conventional deterrent in the face of Pakistani subconventional proxy
warfare. Its implications in terms of escalation possibilities to the nuclear level attracted
considerable attention. Its “quick on the draw” nature added to concerns on crisis
stability. These conspired to shift the latest doctrinal movement in India away from
default reliance on traditional conventional operations to a proactive strategy that
includes in addition punitive military response options.