Nato Offers Missile Defence Cooperation To India

PAC-3 Missiles Defence System

PAC-3 Missiles Defence Syste
In a move that holds great strategic significance, Nato has offered to
share its missile defence technology with India to build its capability
to shoot down incoming enemy missiles, realising the commonality of
threats faced by the 28-nation grouping and South Asia’s pre-eminent
power.

India, thus, becomes the only nation, apart from Russia, outside of the
Nato that the US-led military alliance is willing to work in the
critical missile defence technology sector.

The Nato missile defence project, launched in May 2001, aims to work
with member-countries to meet the group’s responsibility of defending
itself from missile attacks. India too is in the process of developing
its own ballistic missile defence system based on its Prithvi ballistic
missile platform considering the missile threats it faces from rivals in
the region.

“You (India) have a missile threat that confronts you. We (Nato) have a
missile threat that confronts us. Our need to defend against these
missile threats might be the same,” a senior Nato official told a group
of Indian journalists on a visit to the group’s headquarters here.

Asked to specify the area that Nato can cooperate with India on missile
defence, the official, who did not wish to be named, said: “One will be
in the technology of defence.”

The official noted that the threats that India and Nato faced may come
from different directions and Nato doesn’t necessarily see the threats
that India sees.

“Because your strategic situation is different from ours. But the
technology of discovering and intercepting missiles is the same,” he
said.

However, he admitted that the cooperation will have to be led by the
Americans. The US has an advanced Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)
development project than any other member-nation in the Nato, though
India has equally robust bilateral relations with most of them including
France and United Kingdom.

“The fact is it is more Indo-US than Nato-Indian relationship. But we
are getting into ballistic missile defence in a pretty big way. As a
result, there is a repository of knowledge that we can share and we can
train together. There are experiences that we can talk about,” the
official said.

India’s BMD programme, launched in the middle of the previous decade, is
a two-tiered shield system consisting of two interceptor missiles —
the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception,
and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for lower altitude
interception. It tested the PAD for the first time in November 2006 and
the AAD in December 2007.

With these tests, India became the fourth country to have successfully
tested the anti-missile system after the US, Russia and Israel. However,
the Indian BMD, mainly focusing to counter missiles with less than
5,000-km range, is far from being perfected and further tests of the BMD
system are being planned.

The US has a multiple-missile threat defence system called the National
Missile Defence (NMD) intended to shield an entire country against
incoming missiles, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles of over
7,500-km range and other shorter range ballistic missiles.

Nato is conducting three missile defence-related activities — theatre
ballistic missile defence capability for short- and medium-range
ballistic missile threats, missile defence for the entire Nato
territory, and missile defence cooperation with Russia.

The Nato-Russian cooperation is a by-product of the group expanding its
membership post-Cold War beginning 1989, to make allies out of former
enemies from the Warsaw Pact countries such as Poland and Czech
Republic.

The Times Of India