Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2008

India challenging China

"After decades of considering Pakistan their principal enemy, Indian defence officials are beginning to see China as a more serious long-term threat, and they don’t want to be caught unprepared again. Washington is embracing India as a rising power that can be a valuable ally to stand with this country, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia in defence of democracy in South and East Asia,” according to a report published here. James T. Hackett writes in the Washington Times on Thursday that Indian defence analysts are concerned about the huge nuclear submarine base being built by China on Hainan Island in the South China Sea and Beijing’s plan to build up to five ballistic missile-firing submarines. Consequently, India is building its own ballistic missile-firing submarine and in February carried out a successful test launch of a K-15 missile from an underwater platform. The plan reportedly is to develop a version of the Agni family of solid-fuel missiles to be carried on Indi…

India's missile power lifts off

The spread of long-range ballistic missiles took a step forward on May 7 with India's successful flight test of its Agni-III missile that can carry a nuclear warhead as far as Beijing. But the difference between this and other missile developments is that India's missiles — like those of the United States, Britain, France and Israel — are not used to threaten others and instead help deter potential aggressors. With nuclear missile-armed neighbors like China, Russia and Pakistan, India needs an effective deterrent. But for years New Delhi concentrated on developing tactical missiles to deter Pakistan, which India fought three times since independence in 1947. India's nuclear-capable short- and medium-range missiles, in addition to its supersonic cruise missiles, are an existing deterrent to Pakistan. Now India emphasizes development of strategic weapons, clearly worried about China's rapid military buildup. In 1962, India fought a war with China over their disputed f…

India test-fires Prithvi missile

India Friday successfully test-fired its 150-250 km range surface-to-surface Prithvi missile from the integrated test range at Chandipur, the NDTV reported     The Prithvi missile, which is 8.56-meter-long and one-meter-thick, can carry a payload of 1,000 kg explosives. It was test-fired as part of a user's trial by the Indian Army.     The missile, developed by the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), has already been inducted in the Indian Army.     Mounted on a mobile tatra transporter-erector launcher, the sophisticated missile took off vertically and plunged into the pre-designated splash-down point in the Bay of Bengal, the TV quoted Indian defense sources as saying.     Powered by liquid propellant, Prithvi can operate with both liquid and solid fuel. It has a launch weight of 4.6 tons, which included payload of one ton. This variant of the missile could take just 300 seconds to reach the target located at a distance of 150 kilometers.     The main use of …

Remembering Pokharan-II: India's N-dream

On May 11, 10 years ago, India declared itself as a nuclear nation state. Five nuclear explosions were carried out on May 11 and 13 in 1998 by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Sunday is the 10th anniversary of Pokhran II but it will be a quiet affair, as no official celebrations have been planned to commemorate the event. The tests at Pokhran stunned the world but gave India's nuclear scientists the data they needed to validate the designs of India's nuclear weapons and warheads, which would be mated to missiles like the Agni and the Prithvi or bombs which could be carried on fighter jets such as the Mirage 2000. There were five nuclear devices that were tested deep inside the sands of Pokharan - a hydrogen bomb, an advanced atom bomb and three small tactical nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who ordered the tests within days of his government coming to power, did not hesitate to declare India as a 'nuclear weapons state'. The international…

Games bomb makers played to keep the tests a top secret

Ten years ago, India’s bomb makers played a little game of deception in the scorching deserts of Pokhran in Rajasthan. “Colonel Prithviraj,” called K. Santhanam, the chief pointsman for the weaponization programme for India’s second nuclear test. His voice quivered in the desert air. He was addressing A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. But all he could get from the missile man, who was later to become the president of India, was a blank stare. Similarly, R. Chidambaram, then head of the Atomic Energy Commission, looked the other way when Santhanam addressed him as “Col. Natraj”. Santhanam was known in the desert as “Col. Srinivisan”. Dressed in battle fatigues, these were no battle-hardened soldiers, but the prized quartet of India’s top scientists - Chidambaram, Kalam, Santhanam and Anil Kakodkar, then head of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. They had been entrusted by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with the top secret job of detonating a bomb and making India a nuclear power. “It was diffic…