Pakistan test fires short range 'Nasr' missiles: Islamabad says it is a deterrent against India's 'Cold Start' doctrine

Pakistan successfully test-fired short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile 'Nasr' on Wednesday, which army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said has put "cold water" on Indian military's "Cold Start" doctrine.

"Nasr has put cold water on (the) Cold Start (doctrine)," General Bajwa said taking a jibe at Indian Army after the training launch of the short-range missile 'Nasr' at an undisclosed location.

Speaking on the occasion, he said war must be avoided at all costs and "our strategic capability is a guarantee of peace against a highly militarised and increasingly belligerent neighbour."

So what are the specifications of the Nasr missile system?

'Nasr', officially called Hatf IX , is a high-precision weapon system with the ability to be deployed quickly. Pakistan Army had conducted a series of training launches and tests this week for validation of new technical parameters of 'Nasr' with an enhanced range of 60-70 kilometres and flight maneuverability.

The Hatf IX missile. Image courtesy: ISPR

The Hatf IX missile. Image courtesy: ISPR

The first ever test of the missile took place on 19 April 2011. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the missile has been developed to add deterrence value to Pakistan’s Strategic Weapons Development programme at shorter ranges. The press release had added that 'Nasr', can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy, shoot and scoot attributes.

Short range missiles like 'Nasr' are Pakistan's deterrence against India's "Cold Start" doctrine.

While the Indian Army has never officially confirmed the existence of such a doctrine, there are various media reports which give an idea of the plan.

"Cold Start" is a military doctrine developed by the Indian Armed Forces for use in a likely war with Pakistan.

According to The Economist, "Cold Start" is a limited-war strategy against Pakistan — one where the Indian military will capture Pakistani territory without risking a nuclear war.

The report added that the doctrine was formed after the Indian Parliament was attacked in 2001. After the attack, the Indian Army initiated Operation Parakram along the Pakistan border. After that Pakistan too mobilised its troops in short notice, the situation de-escalated by mid-2002.

An India Today report noted that in the event of the doctrine being activated, leaner battle groups consisting of infantry and armour groups, will be mobilised. These groups will indulge in conventional warfare before there is any threat of a nuclear strike from Pakistan.

In a significant development, the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat recently accepted the existence of such a doctrine. In a January 2017 interview with India Today, Rawat said, "The "Cold Start" doctrine exists for conventional military operations. Whether we have to conduct conventional operations for such strikes is a decision well-thought through, involving the government and the Cabinet Committee on Security."

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2017 18:17 PM

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