India defines outer limit of weapons programme

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by RPK, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    India defines outer limit of weapons programme


    New Delhi: Eleven years after it detonated nuclear bombs at Pokhran, India has defined the outer limits of its strategic weapons programme.


    There will be no Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, so far considered the litmus for being acknowledged as a bona fide nuclear power.


    Instead, India will restrict its weapons delivery to medium-range rockets, aimed at countering only regional threats


    “We need credible minimum deterrence not against the whole world. We need the capability only with respect to our neighbourhood,” said Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta.


    From Network 18's summit on 'Enhancing Defence Capabilities', India's military establishment sent the message that New Delhi does not wish to extend its nuclear posture beyond China and Pakistan, that it is wielding nuclear arms only as weapons of peace and that India is content with being a regional power.


    “To ensure peace and stability in the region, we must have credible minimum deterrence,” said Mehta.


    Indeed, the main emphasis in New Delhi's doctrine of credible minimum deterrence is on minimum. Mehta announced that India is even restricting the size of its nuclear submarine fleet to just three


    “Three submarines are sufficient. These should take us through the next 15 years,” Mehta said.


    India was the first civilization in the world to conceive of both weapons of mass destruction -- the Brahmastra and the ultimate doctrine of non-violence, Ahimsa. As it tries to reconcile the diverse ideological strains, the big question is - can a nation become a credible nuclear power by half measures?
     
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  3. ajay_ijn

    ajay_ijn Regular Member

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    Submarines need even longer range missiles to reach our enemy. approximately 5000 to 6000km from Indian Ocean. anything less than that and Submarines will be losing flexibility of patrolling in far away regions.
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    It is more of a symbolic statement to lull the enemies into slumber and doesn't reflect the complete truth. We know the real capabilities of these missiles, definitely greater than what is being stated/advertised here. More of a PR stunt.
     
  5. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    Lets also not forget that India has very advanced space capabilities and if the establishment so desires it will not be that hard to re-purpose one of our launch rocket(PSLV or GSLV) to carry a lethal Inter-continental ballistic missile load. In fact, I would imagine that with the lack of heavy and precious payload that the PSLV/GSLV carry, it will actually be a easier task. I am sure there are plans for it somewhere and simply put, having such a missile is almost a must if India wants to have extreme ranged SLBM's.
     
  6. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Wow. I'm stunned. I'd expect politicians to sing platitudes of peace but a military man? Has he forgotten that India was colonised by a small island thousands of kilometers away from Asia? The next threat could come from anywhere, and hence we must be always prepared for any eventuality. Learn from the Chinese. They are arming themselves so that no one in the present or future, including the US, will even think of going to war against them.

    And here are our politicians, military men and all the leaders that matter-clinging to the same old pacifist ideology that has been the bane of India for millennia. Seems that we never learn from our or our forefathers' mistakes.
     
  7. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    I have heard this argument made many times before by many different sources, even by Americans talking about other countries capabilities.

    if this statement is TRUE, then why is taking India taking so long to come up with the 5000 km range Agni-5. The PSLV series seems to be pretty reliable and has not had a crash in a long while.

    Why are the Russians who already have a very reliable rocket for their space program for a long time having so many problems with their latest Bulava SLBM(supposedly 6 out of 10 failures)

    The people who make this argument make it sound like all you have to do is take the same rocket, and change the paint and put a different payload on it.

    Obviously the facts on the ground show that porting space technology to ballistic missiles is not as simple as it sounds......especially if its an SLBM.
    I am sure there are some basic technologies that are common.

    I would love to hear from someone with a technical background in rocket propulsion about the merits of this argument.
     
  8. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    I think the main difference between a rocket and an ICBM is size. Rockets can be made to be gigantic, upto 100 m in height and 10 m in diameter. But an ICBM needs to be much smaller and yet travel almost the same distance. An Agni 3 for example, has a height of only 10 m and a diameter of 2 m. Besides, missiles need to be versatile and rugged in order to be fired from mobile launchers, underground tubes or hidden as part of railway cargoes.
     
  9. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    Let me point out the obvious, changing the color scheme isn't going to do much good other than give intelligence analysts around the world something to do. As far as what is taking India so long to build a 5000km missile, the answer should be obvious. Like everything in India, it is obviously suffering bureaucratic delays like every other defence project in India.

    Without making it sound too simple, an ICBM is nothing more than a missile that has rockets strapped on to it. The rocket part is always the hardest to get as it takes some very precise engineering to pull off. As you can well imagine, controlling a rocket that is moving many times the speed of sound with hundreds of thousands of little parts in it is not simple. An important fact in the matter is that India through its space program has achieved a pretty solid mastery of the Cryogenic engine technology. These Cryogenic Engines are rocket motors designed for liquid fuels that have to be held at very low "cryogenic" temperatures to be liquid - they would otherwise be gas at normal temperatures. In that sense, India is half way there. The other part and you can argue the more challenging part is the Guidance package on the rocket. For, something that is moving so fast, even the smallest glitch or mathematical mistake could lead to the missile missing the target by hundreds of miles. It requires a very precise set of instruments like Ring Laser Gyro- INS/ GPS/ Stellar guidance system.

    As far as your question as to why Russia can't seemingly get the missile done properly the answer should also be painfully obvious to anyone who follows recent developments. Unlike the Soviet union, Russia no longer has a huge economy to power its war machine, progress and R&D are much slower than they were. Designing a new ICBM is hard enough, designing a SLBM is even tougher...for all purposes its an ICBM, just one that has to fit in a much smaller tube and has to operate in a completely different environment.

    Designing something as complex as a ICBM takes time, especially with the way technology keeps on changing. Also, like KU already said, a ICBM is many times smaller than a Rocket that is designed to propel something into outer space and therefore in a sense an ICBM it is a miniaturized version of a rocket. If India so decided, I am sure we would have no problem in converting a PSLV to a ICBM. Although doing so would result in a tremendous waste of energy as propelling something as massive as a launch vehicle into outer space would require a lot of fuel adding more weight to an already overweight launch platform(For a missile at least). However, I believe that the first Chinese ICBM was infact almost a mirror copy of a rocket they made..so it is quite possible to reconfig. a rocket to a ICBM..just not feasible. We are better off shrinking it into something smaller and easier to handle and moreover according to our govt. we are under no long range threat, so there is no real reason to sink billions of dollars into a weapons program that offers very little in the present.
     
  10. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    If Mr Mehta is right last three of the ATVs will be postponed.
    Ok we are not going to war against West...dont go beyond 5000km missile. But restricting the country with 3 subs will not serve the purpose of countering regional threat. What if we have to take on more than one enemies together?
     
  11. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    I guess Mehta meant 3 SSBNs and the remaining 3 will be SSNs. This will make more sense.
     
  12. John

    John Guest

    The fact is our Agni 3 already can reach over 8000km on a lighter payload, we've had the ability of ICBM for a while now. Agni-5 will have 5000km with full payload which means can hit a target 10000km+ away on a lighter payload. Agni-3SL can hit targets upto 8000km+ on lighter payload, which is good enough for our subs. Well 3 n-subs is not good, we need atleast 2 armed with 4 SLBMs each or 8 missiles with nuclear MIRVs and atleast 3 subs with 12 Sagarikas each, 3 missiles of which armed with nuke warheads or 9 nuke tactical missiles and 27 conventional warhead missiles. This would be minimum requirements.
     
  13. StarScreen

    StarScreen Regular Member

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    I can't believe that such comments are coming from a person serving in the Indian Armed Forces. Say in the near future a Banana Republic geographically located more than 8000 km from India attacks her, should we be sitting duck?
    Our forefathers committed the same mistake and we all know the consequences... we were ruled by the British for more than 150 years and got our a$$ whooped. If India wants to play in the big league, we need bigger guns!
     
  14. mattster

    mattster Respected Member Senior Member

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    Pyromaniac.....I was kidding when i said "change the paint" scheme.

    But on a more serious note, you seem to be saying the same thing essentially that I said - this is not a simple port of technology. If you really want to design a reliable missile system it seems like using liquid fueled missiles would be a complicated mess to handle for the user.

    I would think that any ICBM or IRBM would have to be fully solid fueled to be reliable and easy to use for the army.

    So that brings me to the my original point that is - Its not a simple process to go from space technology where you can spend weeks prepping & checking a rocket's various systems before launching it, to a ballistic missile system that is going to be stored for years in silos or submarines and then will have to work perfectly within 10 minutes notice to fire.

    Its seems like a very different animal, even though there are a lot of common technologies.
     
  15. Officer of Engineers

    Officer of Engineers Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    What Banaa Republic is going to attack India that would necessitate a nuclear response? The only threats from that far are Russia, US, UK, and France. You've lost the race with US and Russia 50 years ago and neither the UK nor France merits a nuclear consideration, ie they're not stupid enough to start a nuclear war.

    The only possible immediate threats that may arise during your construction periods are Iran and North Korea. Iran is close enough with your immediate nuclear strike arms and North Korea has nothing to stop your SSBN.

    By the time the British reached India, they were a Naval Power barred none, hardly a banana republic.

    What the Admiral did was look around and did the math. France and the UK won't start a nuclear war and there's no chance in hell India could trade punches with either the US or Russia. That leaves China and Pakistan ... and maybe North Korea (doubt it but it's there).

    You may not agree with the Admiral's decision but it was a solid read of the strategic picture.
     
  16. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Our CNS is wrong when he says that main emphasis of our nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence.

    our main emphasis is on credible first and minimum deterrence later, which means that it has to be credible only then we are looking at what might be minimum to support credible.

    It is not minimum first and credible later, if that be the case then our doctrine would have been minimum credible deterrence.

    That is why our deterrence is trident.

    What i dont understand why some one like CNS is speaking and making statment of policy, which is not his work, he has to do the execution part of the job, policy has to be made by the civilian heads.

    As far as 3 ATVs in next 15 years are concern, they are insufficent for our Credible minimum deterrence.
     
  17. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Firstly, 3 SSBNs will only be ready by 2015. A lot can happen in those years.

    Secondly, the Admiral "might" be making a political statement rather than referring to IN doctrine. How well are 3 subs sufficient will have been studied. So, only the admiral will know the ground realities.

    Thirdly, he is right. It is expensive maintaining SSBNs and the Navy is not entirely happy inducting SSBNs before making any SSNs. So, we cannot actually comment on what the future holds. Also, considering OOE's point about an accident, the Navy will prefer to maintain 3 to prevent accidents. Losing a SSN is cheaper in both human cost and material compared to a SSBN.

    Lastly, we need to see what is minimum credible deterrence with the Navy's POV. 12*3= 36 missiles seems sufficient. 4 Agni missiles with 3 MIRVs= 12 warheads are also good enough. And according to OOE, the Chinese are paying more attention to their conventional capabilities rather than work on the nuclear capability. So, this could be a reason for the Navy to work on conventional capabilities too.

    One question to OOE. Sir, is there a possibility the Chinese are working on Chemical and Biological agents rather than Nuclear as their choice of WMDs.
     
  18. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    John,
    Seriously man you got to be kidding me with those range and payload relation. I've told you before as well it's not that simple an equation.
    On having my car full say each weighing 60 kgs means a total of 300 kgs I get 15km to a litre. If I drive alone, will I get 75 a litre?
     
  19. Officer of Engineers

    Officer of Engineers Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    No, for a couple of reasons.

    China signed the BWC and the CWC and all evidence suggest that they are complying, though delayed, with provisions. Whether these delays are deliberate or bureaucratic hassles is open to debate.

    Biochems are notoriously difficult to control and deliver. Case in point, the Halabja poison gas attack was done over a period of 2 days by 14-16 sorties of 7-8 aircrafts plus a number of helo delivery system.

    Out of a city of 80,000, only 3500-5000 died with another 7-10,000 wounded. Still a horrific number and an extremely gruesome way to die ... but as a military suppression system, it sucked the big one, leaving 80% of the city still functioning and if a garrison, still combat effective.

    A good rain and biochems are pratically useless.
     
  20. shravan

    shravan Regular Member

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    I think we can use the empty place to carry more fuel.
     
  21. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    not all the missile on the sub will have live warheads, their will be practice missile on the sub.

    assuming that one of the sub or two are for repair, the what you end up is only one sub, with limited number of nukes, enemy hunters will be on the look out for this nuclear sub.
     

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