One missile to rule them all

nandu

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One missile to rule them all

Developing intercontinental ballistic missiles is crucial if India is to have a credible deterrence and power-projection force as it aspires to become a global power

With China engaged in ambitious missile force modernization and the US building new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as part of its "Prompt Global Strike" programme, the question we need to ask is: When will India develop its first ICBM? Without such capability, India has little hope of emerging as a major power.

ICBMs are the idiom of power in international relations. Even as economic might plays a greater role in shaping international power equations, hard power remains central both for national deterrence and for power-projection force capability. For example, all countries armed with intercontinental-range weaponry hold permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council, and all aspirants for new permanent seats have regionally confined military capabilities.

India has glaring deficiencies on both the deterrence and power-projection fronts. It urgently needs a delivery capability that can underpin its doctrine of minimum but credible nuclear deterrence. The current heavy reliance on long-range bomber aircraft is antithetical to a credible deterrence posture.

Such a posture bereft of long-range missile reach only helps typecast India as a subcontinental power. In fact, in the absence of "strategic" or long-range missile systems, India's deterrent capability remains sub-strategic.

If India seriously desires to project power far beyond its shores in order to play an international role commensurate with its size, it cannot do without ICBMs. Indeed, the only way India can break out from the confines of its neighbourhood is to develop intercontinental-range weaponry. With its current type of military capabilities, India will continue to be seen as a regional power with great-power pretensions.

To embark on an ICBM programme, India needs to shed its strategic diffidence. The National Democratic Alliance government told Parliament: "India has the capability to design and develop ICBMs. However, in consonance with the threat perception, no ICBM development project has been undertaken." That policy inexplicably remains unchanged under the United Progressive Alliance government, even as India faces a growing threat from the new ICBMs in China's increasingly sophisticated missile armoury.

An ICBM has a range of 5,500km and more. Rather than aim for a technological leap through a crash ICBM programme, India remains stuck in the intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) arena, where its frog-like paces have taken it—more than two decades after the first Agni test—to Agni III, a sub-strategic missile still not deployed. Even the Agni V project, now on the drawing board, falls short of the ICBM range.

No nation can be a major power without three key attributes: (1) a high level of autonomous and innovative technological capability; (2) a capacity to meet basic defence needs indigenously; and (3) a capability to project power far beyond its borders, especially through intercontinental-range weaponry.

India is today the world's largest importer of conventional weapons, ordering weapons worth at least $5 billion per year. Far from making the nation stronger, such large arms imports underscore the manner in which the country is depleting its meagre defence resources and eroding its conventional military edge. The Indian military today can achieve many missions, including repulsing an aggression and inflicting substantial losses on invaders. It can even carry out limited pre-emptive or punitive action and fend off counteraction. But it cannot do what any major military should be trained and equipped for—decisively win a war against an aggressor state.

The reason is not hard to find: Modernization outlays mainly go not to develop the country's own armament production base, but to subsidize the military-industrial complex of others through import of weapons, some of questionable value. None of the weapon mega deals India has signed in recent years will arm its military with the leading edge it needs in an increasingly volatile and uncertain regional security environment.

Its military asymmetry with China has grown to the extent that it has fostered disturbing fecklessness in India's China policy, best illustrated by external affairs minister S.M. Krishna's recent Beijing visit. And in the absence of a reliable nuclear deterrent, India has become ever more dependent on conventional weapon imports. Among large states in the world, India is the only one that relies on imports to meet even basic defence needs.

Last year's launch of the country's first nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, for underwater trials received a lot of media attention. A nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarine (known as SSBN) is essential for India to bridge the yawning gap in its deterrent force against China. But even if everything goes well, India's first SSBN will be deployed in the years ahead with a non-strategic weapon—a 700km submarine-launched ballistic missile now under development. That would further underpin the regional character of India's deterrence.

Without hard power, India will continue to punch far below its weight and be mocked at by critics. One well-known India baiter, journalist Barbara Crossette, claims: ""¦today's India is an international adolescent, a country of outsize ambition but anemic influence." That India still does not have an ICBM project—even on the drawing board—is a troubling commentary about the lack of strategic prudence. China built its first ICBM even before Deng Xiaoping initiated economic modernization in 1978. A generation later, the Indian leadership has yet to grasp international power realities.

By:Brahma Chellaney

http://www.livemint.com/2010/04/20203506/One-missile-to-rule-them-all.html?h=B
 
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FlameNtroll

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China engaged in ambitious missile force modernization and the US building new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)


What has India to do with US making new ICBMS is india thinking of attacking the US for gods shake come out of this mindset that everybody is there to attack india . US is your partner is that correct then this is empty talk nothing more
and one missile to rule them all so do you believe that once you get hold of an ICBM you can rule the chinese and scare the US badly composed article makes no sense
 

Soham

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China engaged in ambitious missile force modernization and the US building new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)


What has India to do with US making new ICBMS is india thinking of attacking the US for gods shake come out of this mindset that everybody is there to attack india . US is your partner is that correct then this is empty talk nothing more
and one missile to rule them all so do you believe that once you get hold of an ICBM you can rule the chinese and scare the US badly composed article makes no sense
How about a few punctuations ?
 
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China engaged in ambitious missile force modernization and the US building new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)


What has India to do with US making new ICBMS is india thinking of attacking the US for gods shake come out of this mindset that everybody is there to attack india . US is your partner is that correct then this is empty talk nothing more
and one missile to rule them all so do you believe that once you get hold of an ICBM you can rule the chinese and scare the US badly composed article makes no sense
All long range Indian missiles are a deterrence against China and they are labelled China specific, India government has volunteeringly capped the missile ranges to 5,000km for the present time, USA is not in the picture at all.
 

sayareakd

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ICBM, we have't tested them, but we sure have the tech to send object to moon, that to, with pin point accuracy. We need more moon missions (that is for sure), our security concern are within Asia (china included and so is diago gercia), therefore with A5 we have sufficient range to cover both of them.

Now as far as INS Arihant and the subsequant nuclear subs in the series we will get range and the missile on Arhinant and its sister concern would take care of ICBM range (ofcourse more range is always better range).

Now coming back to whether or not we have ICBM or not i would say one of the junior minister of defence in Indian govt was shown the door for his speech for having Surya missile under development.

some times i really wonder if Agni3 is very very short range Surya missile. DRDO is known to play with words.
 

ahmedsid

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China engaged in ambitious missile force modernization and the US building new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)


What has India to do with US making new ICBMS is india thinking of attacking the US for gods shake come out of this mindset that everybody is there to attack india . US is your partner is that correct then this is empty talk nothing more
and one missile to rule them all so do you believe that once you get hold of an ICBM you can rule the chinese and scare the US badly composed article makes no sense
Look Troll, In world politics, you got to understand, that there are no permanent foes or allies! Whoever thought the Japanese would be an American ally after all the bad blood?

India having an ICBM will be a credible deterrent to not only USA but to any other nation, which can think, that they can wipe off India at a "Later Stage". You got to understand that, rather that reading stuff between the lines, which is non existent.
 

Yusuf

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Brahma Chellany didn't mean it that way. He just said that every major power has ICBMs and India aspiring to be a major power should also develop these weapons system. So no need to twist it. No one said India is looking to attack the US. Brahma Chellany is not a Zaid Hamid and knows what he is talking about.
 

gb009

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Will a 5000 km range ICBM be able to hit every corner of China if launched from the southern most tip of India? Just curious, though I feel if that had not been the case they would not have caped the range at 5000, but just want to be sure.
 

Anshu Attri

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India should avoid ICBM Race

http://idrw.org/?p=1380#more-1380



With Agni-V intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) already out of drawing boards and getting ready to be fired next year. Debate has been ragging in the Defence circle, Should India develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)? , it been a decade now that India have the capability to design and test a ICBM , "it will hardly take less than two years to work and test fire one " as told to me once by a DRDO scientist .
World is watching India's moves closely, after Agni-V future ballistic missiles will be in ICBM range (5500 km +), Does India really need to have an ICBM to have a global impact? , Just because China have been developing new generation ICBMs, India does not have to join the club just for sake of it, Threat perceptive of china is completely different to what India have, China sees United states of America has a possible future Threat with which china may go into a war with .while India doesn't have any such threat from Us or any other south American countries.
Agni-V with its massive 1.5 tons payload will be able to hit targets at 5000km and with lesser payload same missile system will be able to hit targets up to 7000 km, which covers all possible conflict zones for India.
ICBMs have been projected by many in India has great display of military might to the world, to make world recognize India has the global military power, But the question is India which is world's largest importer of conventional weapons can be seriously considered a Global power House? When it cannot even build smaller conventional weapons at home. Smaller countries like Israel and Singapore provides India their developed weapons, how can world seriously consider India's military might with purchased weapons.
India has to start developing all major conventional weaponry in house, and success of these weapons in export market will only give India the political and economical influence in the world affairs which will naturally propel India into super powers league.
 

BunBunCake

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Yes, we don't need to join the race just for the sake of it.
But we need ICBM's because....

Who knows how India-US relations will be in another 20 years? 30 years? Who knows what country will try to take over the world?
We have the technology. When in a threatening situation, India will be powerless when against countries outside South Asia without ICBM's.

All other nuclear powers (w/ exception of Pakistan) have ICBM's. You don't know when relations will turn hostile. So better develop the weapon and keep ourselves ready.

No one is safe until ALL nuclear weapons are destroyed.
 
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we may already have an ICBM but we are not making it official for political reasons? PSLV,GSLV,Chandradayaan have all travelled further than a ICBM would normally travel.
 
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AkhandBharat

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We may have the capability, but we don't have a working system. And considering how wars happen, it would be prudent to keep everyone in check (including US) because India might find itself in the future fighting covertly with US for our interests. We don't want to have to dig a well when we feel thirsty. If we have the capability, we might as well test it out boldly and not behave like a meek nation drudging on US support every now and then
 

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