Safeguarding India

The fourth test-firing of the nuclear capable Agni V missile is a major stride in India’s defence capability. Though officially the range of the missile is stated to be 5000 kms, some defence experts say it has an effective range of up to 8000 kms. Two more tests may be required before the missile’s induction into our armoury. India has already made it known that it is working on another longer range missile which will have a range of 8000 to 10,000 kms. It may take a few more years to have that capability but Agni V goes a long way in ensuring deterrence against China. The community of Indian scientists who made Agni V possible deserves to be congratulated and complimented. 
In June this year, India signed the Missile Technology Control Regime, opening the road to develop both cruise and ballistic missiles in a big way. The immediate result of joining the MTCR was the removal of the restriction on the range of the BrahMos cruise missile to 290 kms only. The MTCR prevented India to acquire or develop in collaboration with a foreign country any missile that had a range of over 300 kms. India could now buy high-end missile technology and further develop its joint ventures with Russia or other countries. It is a matter of satisfaction that the programme of developing India’s own GPS has kept pace with our progress in missile technology. As is well known, a missile after launching requires two type of guidance: in-flight and terminal. The in-flight guidance is provided by the Global Positioning System or GPS. Thanks to the scientists of ISRO, India has already acquired its own independent GPS which covers an area within a radius of 1,500 kms. The launch of the seventh and final Navigation Satellite in April this year made it possible.
While all this is commendable, it has to be borne in mind that India’s immediate threat comes from Pakistan, not from China. India has to have an adequate number of ready-to-use smaller range nuclear and non-nuclear missiles as well as an effective missile defence system to prevent/foil a nuclear misadventure by Pakistan. The possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of jihadi extremists is very real and India apart, the United States is very worried about it. The jihadis are a lunatic lot that will not flinch from doing anything rash even if that ultimately brings about their own doom. India has to ensure that such a lunatic act will be either foiled or retaliated effectively.
 
Wednesday, 28 December, 2016