Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Does India need ICBM?


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Does India need ICBM?

Presently we have two nuclear countries, Pakistan and China as our enemies in the neighborhood and India can counter and take appropriate punitive action against them, if and when required........

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Many people are of the view if China can show their 12,000 km ICBM fearlessly, why is India hesitating in doing so? Many feel India should go ahead and openly do so. But why India is not keen to do so. There are valid reasons and strategic factors. Even common sense tells you the same. There's no need to exhibit the ICBM capability. India has conducted nuclear weapons tests in a pair of series namely Pokhran I and Pokhran II.

India successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in an apparent effort to signal advances in its nuclear deterrent to China. The launch was conducted from India's test site on APJ Abdul Kalam Island. The missile, a three-stage, solid-fueled system launched from a canister, was last tested in 2018.

DRDO successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in September 2020, and demonstrated its hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology. According to sources, India has developed its own cryogenic engine and demonstrated it in a 23-second flight.

Actually India has nothing to gain immediately by deploying a over 12,000 km range missile now, but everything to lose. Logic too tells you the same. Even geographical and political considerations indicate the same. Why invite animosity or doubts in the minds of countries friendly to India.

If you analyze practically, the circumference of earth is roughly 40,000 km ,which means any missile with range of 16,000 km can hit anywhere in the world .Only a few countries, mainly USA, Russia and China have such ICBM among the limited countries which have nuclear weapons.

When you look at the map carefully, those countries who have enemies which require such long range weapons but in case of India we only have two nuclear armed enemies, Pakistan and China. In case of Pakistan, India can choose from a wide range of delivery systems. Against China, it's little complicated, India would launch from air and ground at the eastern front but it will not go beyond the Tibetan region so it's not of much use. Agni-V is an Indian nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The missile is believed to have a range of around 5,500 to 8,000 km.

India will use mainly submarine and ICBM to reach Beijing. The latest ICBM by India was officially reported to have 5,500 km range but expert analysis of the tests have confirmed it is actually in 8,000 km range, and this puts whole of China under India’s reach. And China too is aware of this.

If India would go beyond this range, then India will become a threat to other powers mainly European countries and USA. If they think that way or perceive a threat, they will start to undermine us in nuclear technology. Do you think USA will give us a special nuclear civil deal in case India had missile capable of reaching USA? No way. Same goes for NSG membership and other such groupings. All the countries think of their safety first.

Even if India develops a true ICBM which DRDO is fully capable of developing it will be under secrecy for the next decade or maybe even more. India has the technology and the capability to do so, but it's wise to go for what are our defense needs and strategic interests demand. There's no point making something we actually don't need. And politically too it's a correct decision. We don't need to exhibit our capability and upset other countries. Some may even suspect India of ultra motives and try to undermine our progress.

Presently we have two nuclear countries, Pakistan and China as our enemies in the neighborhood and India can counter and take appropriate punitive action against them, if and when required. The long-range Agni-5 is India’s missile capable of reaching Beijing. The Agni-5 has a height of 17 meters and it is capable of carrying a 1.5-tonne warhead. Hence presently it's sensible and correct that India doesn't get into the race for ICBM. Don't forget, India has the capability and expertise for ICBM, but what's the point of making it when we don't need it. India has enough capabilities to handle threat from the two old enemies, Pakistan and China.

India’s development of ICBMs is likely to trigger arms race with China. Such moves by India and China could set off an increased and more intense nuclear arms race in Asia.As per some reports, according to a 1995 report published in The Nonproliferation Review, Surya (meaning the Sun in Sanskrit and many Indian languages) is the codename for one of the Intercontinental ballistic missiles that India is reported to be developing, for which there is no formal statement from India.

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