Pakistan Army doctrine says ‘Attack First’
The growing tensions between India and Pakistan may result in pre-emptive action by Pakistan according to information gleaned about Pakistan’s military doctrine.
Retired Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal, Director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies and author of the book, Indian Army Vision 2020 says the Pakistan army has a doctrine of ‘offensive-defense’, which was initiated in 1989 by the then army chief General Mirza Aslam Beg after the key Exercise Zarb-e-Momin. “The idea is to take the battle into Indian territory,” says the Brigadier, “and hold get as much territory as possible.” Pakistan can then use this territory as a bargaining chip on the negotiating table.
It is imperative according to this doctrine for the Pakistani army to try and punch through Indian lines first, rather than wait for an Indian attack. “They have to attack first. They have to take the initiative here. If they wait for India to strike, they will be left in a reactive mode. As it is they have only two Strike Corps in comparison to the three Indian Strike Corps,” Brigadier Kanwal explained.
The two Pakistani Strike Corps are the Army Reserve North and the Army Reserve South with reports that Pakistan army had created additional formations in the 1990s for both defensive as well as offensive roles.
Brigadier Kanwal is doubtful of the Pakistan Army’s ability to execute this doctrine. “They don’t have enough attacking forces to do the job. Their two Strike Corps are not enough to do this,” he opines, adding, “They rely on missile systems to try and achieve this.”