Saturday, 11 June 2011

Indian Air Force Chief Wants ICBM's In The Armory

Presently the plan for Indian government is to cap its missile range at 5,000km with nuclear warhead. This is seen as a deterrent enough for China the primary adversary. To this end India will test Agni-V IRBM by the end of this year. It has already perfected Agni-III with a range of 3,000km with nuclear warheads. This is enough to hit targets inside China but Agni-V will bring whole of China under threat.

Air Chief Marshal PV Naik on the other hand believes that if we have the capacity to build ICBM's then it should be used. His views are that India has moved out of its Regional sphere of influence and as per that it should have the tools to match the new status. He made it clear that India doesn't have any designs on any countries territory but as a global power it should have weapons of that standing.

To some extent the Air Chief is correct too, in common parlance if you join the big boys club then play like big boys. It will be a strategic mistake to project yourself as a world player diplomatically but leaving your forces behind in the regional sphere.

Naik, who heads the chiefs of staff committee, said, "India should pursue an ICBM programme to acquire ranges of 10,000 km or even more. Breaking out of the regional context is important as the country's sphere of influence grows. We have no territorial designs on any country, but India needs the capability to match its sphere of influence."

At present this capability is with five countries namely china,Russia,France,UK and USA. DRDO believes that it has the technology ready to build ICBM's but the type of warhead and the range of missiles is a political decision. And we all know that most Indian politicians do not have enough courage to take any kind of decision which might upset the Americans or Chinese.

There is one more problem in all this the cost. the cost to develop an ICBM may be as much as 10,000 crore that is 6% of the total Indian defense budget.Ashley J Tellis, senior associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, "As of now, New Delhi has no strategic need for deploying ICBMs. But there's no legal regime that stops India from acquiring intercontinental reach."

At present Indian Army has the 3,000Km Agni-III , 2,000Km Agni-II and 750 km Agni-I.