“In 2012, the unequal relationship between India and Pakistan is spinning sharply out of control. Terrorists attack the Indian parliament and kill two ministers and 12 MPs. There is no doubt that Pakistan had a hand in this, and in a month India goes to war. Pakistan threatens to use nuclear weapons if India does not stop the invasion. Indian troops close in on Lahore, and Pakistan launches Ghauri missiles with nuclear warheads aimed at Delhi… A long-range radar for missile defence detects the Ghauri missiles 30 seconds after their launch. Five minutes later… the missile defence system launches interceptor missiles. Four Pakistani Ghauri missiles explode in the sky and fall harmlessly to the ground in pieces… The city of Delhi is saved. India carries out a nuclear counterattack that, in the words of one military officer, ‘will put an end to Pakistan once and for all.’ Science fiction? Not entirely.” Written by Raj Chengappa, a columnist for “India Today”, in the official publication of the Indian Embassy in Moscow in 2008. The article raised the sensitive issue of the importance of ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield for India (as the country is surrounded by failed states) to protect from the perceived threats from it’s neighbours especially from Pakistan and China. China has already developed a multi layered BMD shield and tested it in exo,endo,mid atmospheres. Some Indian strategists feel that as China has already exchanged missiles with Pakistan ,there is always a possibility of exchanging BMD technology too. As India follows “no-first-use policy”, it needs to deploy sophisticated interceptor missiles (the response time will be very less in the order of one hundredth of a second) which can intercept more than one missile simultaneously in different directions.
BMD shields are used to counter the enemy ballistic missiles. Since these missiles are having different ranges (short, medium, intermediate, long), speeds, sizes and performance characteristics , BMD shields are implemented in layered architecture.
India felt the requirement of BMD shield in late 1990s after Pakistan test fired short range missiles called Ghauri which can hit the major cities of India. Thereafter India planned two layered BMD shield one for the exo-atmosphere(altitudes of 50–80 km) called Prithvi Air Defense(PAD) and the other for endo-atmosphere(altitudes of up to 30 km) called Advanced Air Defense (AAD) . PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by AAD in December 2007.In phase-I India planned to intercept short to medium range missiles(less than 2000kms) and in phase-II India is planning to develop interceptor missiles for long range missiles(range more than 2000kms).
On November 23,2012 India test fired successfully an AAD system which can take care of multiple missiles simultaneously. This system has a radio frequency seeker which acts as interceptor’s “eye” (tracks the velocity, position and direction of the enemy missile),radio proximity fuse(ignites the warhead),directional warhead(kills the enemy missile).
India wants to deploy this two layered BMD shield in National Capital Region(administrative capital),Mumbai(financial capital) and across its strategic assets in 2013 or 2014.With this, India will be entering the elite club of U.S,China,France,Israel,Russia having BMD shield.
George Fernandes, Defence Minister of India during NDA Government said “China with its vast nuclear arsenal, Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and delivery system capability, America perching in Diego Garcia and 8 other Asian countries possessing missiles is quite a grim security scenario”.He didn’t mention the 8 Asian countries but the possibilities are Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, North Korea, South Korea, Syria, and Taiwan.
Even though there is consensus across the political spectrum in India to develop sophisticated air defence technologies to protect vulnerable areas and facilities there are many hindering factors like existence of limited domestic resource capabilities , little cooperation in transferring latest technologies from other countries, difficult geographical boundaries to quickly detect enemy missiles ,variable climatic conditions etc., Despite these constraints India is moving steadfastly to demonstrate it’s strength, sophistication, and ambition in advanced missile technologies. Even though it may not fully guarantee protection(as recently shown the gaps of “Iron Dome” of Israel during skirmishes with Hamas of Gaza) from all type of missile attacks from every direction ,it surely increase its deterrence and future technological capabilities and will benefit military and civil sectors. There are also concerns that it will provoke it’s neighbours but in international politics there are no friends and foes and threats to India are realistic. Keeping these scenarios in mind(as india’s population is high in number and density, casualties & destruction will be high in case of any attack with nuclear warheads by its neighbours) India needs to develop an impenetrable air defence shield across all its strategic and economic assets.
The picture in this article is taken from http://nosint.blogspot.in/2012/07/government-baffled-over-drdo-chiefs.html
[ This is a guest post from Venkata Pitchi Reddy , working in BSNL, IPv6 evangelist , technocrat by profession, interested in societal affairs]
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