India acquiring cutting edge defence systems to safeguard its sovereignty
On April 21, Indian Navy successfully conducted a maiden flight trial of a sea-based anti-missile system--endo-atmospheric interceptor missile, elevating India into the elite club of nations having naval BMD capability
Recent indigenous successes in developing state of the art weapon systems and platforms like endo-atmospheric anti missile systems, aircraft carrier Vikrant, new age howitzers, submarines, new generation stealth warships etc have not only raised India’s profile in the international strategic community but also added muscle to Indian diplomacy.
On the strength of defensive and offensive systems that has recently been added to the Indian arms inventory India could successfully deter China not only from further intruding into Indian territory but could also compel them to go back to original positions on the LAC, in most of the sectors. The new weapon systems, indigenous and imported, have definitely boosted the morale of Indian forces.
Surrounded by two rival military powers China on Northern frontiers and Pakistan on Western borders, India has been preparing hard to effectively tackle the combined onslaught of the two. As China and Pakistan have been posing a huge threat to India’s security, Indian leadership have been proactively equipping its armed forces with latest generation weaponry, through import and indigenous routes.
Though Pakistan’s military capabilities are no match to India but China is definitely a real challenge, which has of late been flexing its muscle on the 3488 kms long LAC. As India faces the dual threat, the military leadership is well prepared to effectively deal with a two-front war like situation.
The Indian security establishment has also been keeping a close watch on the role played by various forces on the ground and in the air, in the Russia-Ukraine war, the Russian missile offensive on Ukraine and the Ukrainian resolve to counter the Russian military intrusion.
The way Ukrainian soldiers have faced Russian aggression over the last 14 months, it is unprecedented in the world’s military history. There is much to learn and get inspired from the Ukrainian military resistance to the Indian army.
The Russian nuclear threat has perhaps prevented the US led NATO from directly interfering in the Ukraine war. Similarly, the Indian nuclear- triad will discourage China and other adversaries from launching any misadventure against Indian sovereignty.
Remember, the decades of eighties, in the height of cold war and post-cold war decade of nineties, the Western powers placed all sorts of obstacles in Indian missile program to succeed, But today India is a missile power, capped with nuclear capabilities, Indian missile scientists have made the country proud and teased the Western powers with successful development of over 5000 kms range Agni ballistic missile program in the late nineties and first decade of this century.
The Agni -5 ballistic missile, which can target all the major Chinese cities, has perhaps prevented the Chinese from launching a full-fledged war on India. Though efforts are on to augment the squadron strength with cutting edge fighters, the current fighter fleet capabilities, powered by recently acquired Rafales are equally capable to tackle any Chinese air assault.
IAF is also well equipped with Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft which has now been redesigned to deploy 300 kms range Brahmos supersonic missiles on its underbelly. In fact, the Sea based anti-missile system called Endo-atmospheric interceptor missile was successfully tested on April 21 from the Coast of Orissa in the Bay of Bengal.
This test validated the capabilities of the Indian version of BMD as it could engage and neutralise a hostile ballistic missile threat, thereby elevating India into the elite club of nations having naval BMD capability.
This ship based ballistic missile defence is considered to be the most exciting development in the Indian defence systems programme. DRDO, the premier agency to develop cutting edge defence systems, had earlier tested land-based BMD system with capability to neutralise ballistic missile attacks.
India’s supersonic Brahmos cruise missiles have now become a flagship Indian defence product, which will enable the Indian navy to dominate the high seas. The naval and air launched version of Brahmos will deter enemy warships from roaming in Indian and adjacent waters.
This development will facilitate Indian armed forces to be self-dependent on hugely expensive anti-missile systems for which presently India is dependent on Russia, to be used for self-defence against incoming ballistic missiles, vital for safeguarding big, densely populated cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, etc.
The acquisition of S-400 anti-missile systems became an issue in India-US strategic relations as Washington DC wanted to supply similar systems. Each S-400 anti-missile system has cost India almost over USD 1 billion. In a few years’ time India hopes to manufacture these most advanced missile defence systems domestically, eliminating its dependence on one country, which may put conditions for smooth operation of the entire system.
These cutting-edge systems are developed with the aid of critical technologies, which no developed nations would like to share with India. Similarly, India is working on the development of nuclear submarines, design, and development, which is the most closely guarded secret.
India has already joined the elite club of nations operating nuclear powered submarines. First India made nuclear submarine INS Arihant is already operational, whereas second nuclear submarine INS Arighat is undergoing sea trials and likely to be commissioned soon.
These new additions to the underwater capabilities will add heft to Indian dominance not only over Indian Ocean but also can make forays in the nearby Oceans. As the security situation around India deteriorates and new geo-political alliances emerge, Indian leadership is working on mega – defence projects like indigenous development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft AMCA and other non-traditional weapon systems like drones, unmanned combat aircraft, cyber security systems, anti-satellite systems etc to safeguard its national interest and sovereignty.
*** The writer is a senior journalist and strategic affairs analyst; views expressed here are his own