US analysed India's military contingency plans

London: American embassy cables leaked by whistleblower website WikiLeaks reveal that the US conducted its own secret analysis of India's military contingency plans codenamed 'Cold Start', the Guardian reported.

"It is the collective judgment of the mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement," according to an American cable.

But the US ambassador to India, Tim Roemer warned in February that for India to launch Cold Start, would be to "roll the nuclear dice".

It could trigger the world's first use of nuclear weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Indian leaders no doubt realise that, although Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner without triggering a nuclear response, they cannot be sure whether Pakistani leaders will in fact refrain from such a response."

US diplomats in Islamabad were told that Pakistan was working on producing smaller, tactical nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield against Indian troops.

"The result of this trend is the need for greater stocks of fissile material.... Strategic considerations point Pakistan in the direction of a larger nuclear force that requires a greater amount of fissile material, Pakistani officials argue," an extract from one of the cables published by the daily said.

A senior US intelligence official was "unrelentingly gloomy" about Pakistan.

Peter Lavoy, national intelligence officer for south Asia, concluded in November 2008 that nuclear-armed Pakistan's economy was "in tatters" and the country could "completely lose control of its Pashtun territories over the next few years", according to a leaked US cable.

More than a third of people were unemployed or underemployed, he said.

"Pakistan's population is becoming less and less educated, the country lacks sufficient energy and clean water resources to serve its population, and there is minimal foreign investment."

A few months later, in April 2009, US official Patterson was slightly less gloomy, saying Pakistan was not a "failed state".

"We nonetheless recognise that the challenges it confronts are dire. The government is losing more and more territory every day to foreign and domestic militant groups; deteriorating law and order in turn is undermining economic recovery.

"The bureaucracy is settling into third-world mediocrity, as demonstrated by some corruption and a limited capacity to implement or articulate policy."

She said: "Extremism... is no longer restricted to the border area. We are seeing young Punjabi men turn up in [the tribal areas] and Afghanistan as fighters recruited from areas of southern Punjab where poverty, illiteracy and despair create a breeding ground for extremism."