Indian Development OF 10,000-km Range ICBM On Cards

India
is seriously contemplating to enhance the reach of it’s strategic
missiles. The DRDO will carry out preliminary tests of Agni-V in
December this year or early next year. This missile will have a range of
5,000 km.

India
is seriously contemplating to enhance the reach of it’s strategic
missiles. The Defence Ministry is considering a proposal to develop
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting targets
10,000 km away.

At present, there is a voluntary cap on
developing missiles beyond 5,000-km range and the ICBM capabilities will
propel India into the elite league of nations possessing the deterrent
with nuclear warheads – China, the US, Russia and the UK.

The
proposal for developing ICBM capabilities was moved by the Defence
Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) last month and currently
being examined by the Defence Ministry. Since it is a major policy
decision as ICBM has international ramifications and India is a nuclear
weapon State, sources said here on Saturday that the ultimate decision
to go for it would be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

Air
Chief Marshal PV Naik had recently pitched for developing ICBMs with a
strike capability of 10,000 km and beyond, given India’s growing
influence globally. While he had called for breaking out of the regional
context, he also questioned the need for capping the missile programme,
especially, if India had the technical capability to build it.

Explaining
the significance of the proposal, sources said the Government had put a
voluntary moratorium on developing a missile beyond a range of 5,000
km. This cap came about after India successfully test-fired Agni-III
missile with a range of more than 3,000 km in 2006.

The Agni-III
test enabled the DRDO to develop capabilities for an ICBM but a
political nod is needed to go ahead. The Agni series of missiles fall
into the category of intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) which
can hit a target at 5,000 km. The DRDO will carry out preliminary tests
of Agni-V in December this year or early next year. This missile will
have a range of 5,000 km.

India embarked on the indigenously
designed and produced integrated missile development programme in the
late 1980s and successfully developed Prithvi, Akash and Agni series of
missiles. With the successful launch of Agni-3, the Government announced
that the integrated missile programme had concluded.

As regards
the ICBM, sources said the main objective of the proposed programme is
to develop capabilities and have a deterrent in place to counter the
growing military might of China. The neighbour has a very robust and the
state-of-the-art missile programme, including ICBMs, and the capability
to shoot down a missile in space.

Keeping this factor in view
and the growing economic and strategic stature of India in international
community, the security establishment has urged the political
leadership to go ahead with the ICBM programme, sources said.

The
security establishment wants India to develop ICBM as New Delhi is not
part of Missile Technology Control (MTCR). Moreover, though a declared
nuclear weapon State, India has resisted international pressure to ink
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as it has a ‘no first use’ of nuclear
weapons doctrine in place. This policy was announced after India
conducted the Shakti series of nuclear tests in 1999.

All the UN
Security Council countries having ICBMs can fire these long-range
missiles from land or underwater from submarines known as
submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The first ICBM was
reportedly developed by the erstwhile Soviet Union during Cold War with
the US, and China quickly followed.

While short range and
medium-range ballistic missiles known as theatre ballistic missile carry
conventional warheads, ICBMs which can travel across oceans and hit
targets across continents are strategic weapons with one or more nuclear
warheads.

 
Source:  
http://www.defencenews.in/defence-news-internal.asp?get=new&id=541