An Eyeopener

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by p2prada, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I read this in the morning newspaper.

    Top Article: Substandard Capabilities - Edit Page - OPINION - The Times of India

    Top Article: Substandard Capabilities

    In India, no technological advance is too small to be celebrated nationally. The launch of a nuclear-powered submarine for underwater trials is
    an important step forward in India's quest for a minimal but credible nuclear deterrent. But India still has a long way to go. After all, it will be some years before India can deploy its first nuclear sub armed with sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Yet the mere flooding of the dry dock to begin the harbour trials of INS Arihant became an occasion for national jubilation, with the prime minister present at the event to hail it as "a historic milestone in the country's defence preparedness." It is as if India already has joined the club of nations with nuclear subs.

    To be sure, nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines (known in US argot as SSBNs) can help India bridge the yawning gap in its deterrent capabilities against China. Moreover, only such subs can underpin India's no-first use (NFU) posture. For an NFU to be credible, the country needs a second-strike capability. If a country does not have the capability to retaliate after surviving an enemy's first strike on its nuclear assets, an NFU would make no sense. Nuclear-propelled subs, with their high endurance, serve as a stealthy, least-vulnerable and cost-effective launch pad for nuclear weapons. Deterrence can be achieved with less number of missiles at sea than if they are land-based.

    Still, some harsh facts stick out. India has paid a tremendous international price for its nuclear programme without reaping the kind of security benefits it should have. And the gaps in its deterrent posture remain glaring. Indeed, among nuclear-armed states, India stands out as the country with the slowest rate of progress in deterrent development. Can it be forgotten that India's nuclear programme is the oldest in Asia and that its first nuclear test happened more than 35 years ago? Yet, India's 'credible minimal deterrent', far from being credible, has yet to deliver minimalist capabilities against China. India still does not have a single deployed missile of any type that can reach Beijing.

    Let's face it: No country in history has struggled longer to build a minimal deterrent than India. There are multiple reasons for that, including the absence of a resolute political leadership, the country's accountability-at-a-discount culture, western technology sanctions, the non-existence of independent oversight or audit, creeping politicisation of top scientists and the bureaucratisation of strategic establishments. Also, unlike Britain, China, Israel and Pakistan, India received no assistance from another nuclear power and has had to develop everything indigenously while facing a rising tide of technology controls.

    In the absence of a reliable nuclear deterrent, India remains irredeemably dependent on imports of conventional weapons, spending more than $5 billion annually on such purchases, some of questionable utility. Among important states, India is the only one that relies on imports to meet basic defence needs, to the extent that it has become the world's top arms buyer.

    Yet that record has not stopped India from being boastful. The start of Arihant's underwater trials ought to have been a quiet affair, not a national event. After all, 11 years after a thermonuclear test, that technology is yet to be weaponised. Take another example. The Agni 3 is still to be deployed, yet the DRDO chief held a news conference earlier this year to brag about the likely first test next year of the Agni 5, which is still at the design stage. The press then went ga ga, portraying the Agni 5, with a maximum range of 5,000 km, as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) when, in reality, it is just another Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) in India's agonisingly incremental missile-development path.

    Which other country in the world advertises every technological move or brags about a missile still on the drawing board? To the contrary, the long-standing tradition in the nuclear world is to quietly develop and deploy capabilities. India is the lone exception to that tradition.

    Instead of launching a crash ICBM project drawing on the intercontinental-range capabilities of the space programme, India remains stuck in the IRBM arena, where its frog-like paces have taken it two decades after the first Agni test to Agni-3, a non-strategic system. In fact, if everything goes well, India's first SSBN will be deployed with a non-strategic weapon a 700-km SLBM under development. That would further underpin the regional and stunted character of India's deterrent.

    Of the three technologies nuclear propulsion, SLBM and ICBM the most complex are the first two. Developing a nuclear-weapon-strike capability from underwater is far more difficult than firing missiles from the ground. Yet, while seeking to develop an SLBM-armed nuclear sub, India still does not have an ICBM project, even on the drawing board. India wants to go down in world history as the first nation to deploy an SSBN without having developed an ICBM. 'Incredible India' indeed.

    The writer is professor, Centre for Policy Research.
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Yes I was going to post this. Brahma Chellanys views are spot on.
    Msjor reforms are needed in defence procurement. We are hindered by the polity and beaureucracy more than anything else. But thats the case in every field. That's why we say India grows inspite of the government.
     
  4. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I have started hating our media. They exaggerate and are almost always way out of line. These OPINION articles published by knowledgeable people is always more informative than all the rubbish spewed out by our full time journos.
     
  5. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Talking about media, one magazine is saying that the Arihant is 9400 ton boat. It's 124 mtrs long.

    How the weight increase by 50% and length by 25% is best known to them.
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    And not to mention that this magazine has better information than all intel in world as it says China has 3 aircraft carriers.
     
  7. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    no doubt our media tries to sensationalize every thing that is of little importance to the nation and defence procurements being one such. i still recall when agniIII was test fired, they started reporting as if beijing was to be taken out in no time and there is a section of media which purely thrives on this very sensationalism. dont we everyday see how they feed on some news, hype it up, and project it as if all hell has broken loose, in fact we could have a good discussion on how responsible reporting our media does.

    that apart i am assuming, the launch and inaugural function associated with this sub has to certainly do with akula II soon to be joining the in and with psyops against the enemy states. the aim as i see was to take the spotlight away from that sub soon to be joining the in, at a time when india is keenly looking at the us for its defence procurement needs, and also this is a statement that we are ourselves capable of producing some high end technology defence products.

    its generally the delays and cost over runs in various defence projects initiated by our DPSUs that gets reported but if they accomplish something, that should be broomed under the carpet, and why? these are the times when the hard work behind a project has to be recognised and people behind be applauded or else do we want to be a nation where just like our armer forces are not recognised for their laurels, our scientific community be treated with same disdain.

    as far as we still being stuck with irbm, etc is concerned, a lot of that discredit has to be born by our political and babu class and they be questioned the same, who havent has the wisdom and and vision on the same.
     
  8. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think BC sir is pointing towards some particular section of politicians a psy op article I say
     
  9. A M J

    A M J Regular Member

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    Our media is made up of headless chickens. They start shouting the moment they bump into anything, and louder the voice, even a lie, better their ratings are.
    .
    Yesterday the main headline on NDTV's website was- "Chicken Samosa served in White House."
    .
    Wow what a victory for Indian Diplomacy man!!
    They finally were able to push an Indian dish down Obama's throat.
    And that news was a front page main news.
    .
    Was wondering how much proud I should be on the Fake Pride scale.
    .
    BR has the right name for these types- Bloody DDMs.
    .
    .
    PS-Sorry for the outburst but its the 1st article I read after waking up.
     
  10. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Substandard Capabilities

    Top Article: Substandard Capabilities - Edit Page - OPINION - The Times of India

    Substandard Capabilities

    -Brahma Chellaney

    In India, no technological advance is too small to be celebrated nationally. The launch of a nuclear-powered submarine for underwater trials is an important step forward in India's quest for a minimal but credible nuclear deterrent. But India still has a long way to go. After all, it will be some years before India can deploy its first nuclear sub armed with sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Yet the mere flooding of the dry dock to begin the harbour trials of INS Arihant became an occasion for national jubilation, with the prime minister present at the event to hail it as "a historic milestone in the country's defence preparedness." It is as if India already has joined the club of nations with nuclear subs.

    To be sure, nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines (known in US argot as SSBNs) can help India bridge the yawning gap in its deterrent capabilities against China. Moreover, only such subs can underpin India's no-first use (NFU) posture. For an NFU to be credible, the country needs a second-strike capability. If a country does not have the capability to retaliate after surviving an enemy's first strike on its nuclear assets, an NFU would make no sense. Nuclear-propelled subs, with their high endurance, serve as a stealthy, least-vulnerable and cost-effective launch pad for nuclear weapons. Deterrence can be achieved with less number of missiles at sea than if they are land-based.

    Still, some harsh facts stick out. India has paid a tremendous international price for its nuclear programme without reaping the kind of security benefits it should have. And the gaps in its deterrent posture remain glaring. Indeed, among nuclear-armed states, India stands out as the country with the slowest rate of progress in deterrent development. Can it be forgotten that India's nuclear programme is the oldest in Asia and that its first nuclear test happened more than 35 years ago? Yet, India's 'credible minimal deterrent', far from being credible, has yet to deliver minimalist capabilities against China. India still does not have a single deployed missile of any type that can reach Beijing.

    Let's face it: No country in history has struggled longer to build a minimal deterrent than India. There are multiple reasons for that, including the absence of a resolute political leadership, the country's accountability-at-a-discount culture, western technology sanctions, the non-existence of independent oversight or audit, creeping politicisation of top scientists and the bureaucratisation of strategic establishments. Also, unlike Britain, China, Israel and Pakistan, India received no assistance from another nuclear power and has had to develop everything indigenously while facing a rising tide of technology controls.

    In the absence of a reliable nuclear deterrent, India remains irredeemably dependent on imports of conventional weapons, spending more than $5 billion annually on such purchases, some of questionable utility. Among important states, India is the only one that relies on imports to meet basic defence needs, to the extent that it has become the world's top arms buyer.

    Yet that record has not stopped India from being boastful. The start of Arihant's underwater trials ought to have been a quiet affair, not a national event. After all, 11 years after a thermonuclear test, that technology is yet to be weaponised. Take another example. The Agni 3 is still to be deployed, yet the DRDO chief held a news conference earlier this year to brag about the likely first test next year of the Agni 5, which is still at the design stage. The press then went ga ga, portraying the Agni 5, with a maximum range of 5,000 km, as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) when, in reality, it is just another Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) in India's agonisingly incremental missile-development path.

    Which other country in the world advertises every technological move or brags about a missile still on the drawing board? To the contrary, the long-standing tradition in the nuclear world is to quietly develop and deploy capabilities. India is the lone exception to that tradition.


    Instead of launching a crash ICBM project drawing on the intercontinental-range capabilities of the space programme, India remains stuck in the IRBM arena, where its frog-like paces have taken it two decades after the first Agni test to Agni-3, a non-strategic system. In fact, if everything goes well, India's first SSBN will be deployed with a non-strategic weapon a 700-km SLBM under development. That would further underpin the regional and stunted character of India's deterrent.

    Of the three technologies nuclear propulsion, SLBM and ICBM the most complex are the first two. Developing a nuclear-weapon-strike capability from underwater is far more difficult than firing missiles from the ground. Yet, while seeking to develop an SLBM-armed nuclear sub, India still does not have an ICBM project, even on the drawing board. India wants to go down in world history as the first nation to deploy an SSBN without having developed an ICBM. 'Incredible India' indeed.

    The writer is professor, Centre for Policy Research.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Note to Mods: I realize that I could have posted this article in the Navy forum, but I wanted this to be more of a discussion on India's overall defence planning and preparedness, not just the ATV.

    Thanks.
     
  11. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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