The Indo-US ties relationship mainly revolves around; containment of China, putting as India as watchdog in Asia and US desire of capturing Indian market. Indian ambitious desire of achieving hegemony in Asia has made her the world`s largest arms buyer.
|17-metre tall Agni-V, weighing 50 tones, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of 1.1 tonne.|
Last week India test-fired the nuclear-capable Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Agni-V which reportedly covered a range of more than 5,000 kms. V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Indian Defence Minister, in a fit of elation declared: “Today, we have made history. We're a major missile power.” As usual, Indian media went ballistic beating its chest and crowing the success of its test, behaving like a hen that has laid an ordinary egg but cackles at the top of its voice as if it has laid an asteroid. Indian claim of the success being “overwhelming”, prompts a closer examination of the test and explore caveats if any.
First a cursory glance at the history of Indian Missile program, which is presumably second only to China’s in the developing world. The Indian space program began in early 1960s with cooperation from the United States, France, and the Soviet Union. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was founded in 1969. By 1972, it had developed and tested the Rohini-560 two-stage, solid propulsion sounding rocket. India tested its Space Launch Vehicle 3 (SLV) in 1979 and launched a corresponding satellite in 1980. In 1987 the larger Augmented Space Launch Vehicle was flight- tested and used to place small satellites in orbit. The much larger Polar Space Launch Vehicle was first tested in 1994 and is currently used to launch Indian remote sensing, weather, and communications satellites.
Even Chinese analysts raised doubts regarding the effectiveness of Agni-V. Their opinion is relevant, because Agni-V is being projected to be China-specific. Chinese official TV channel CCTV, while acknowledging the successful launch of the missile, commented that India’s missile program was riddled with problems. Chinese experts like Wu Xuelan, concluded that India does not possess a homemade high-precision guidance system for long range missiles to hit targets more than 5000 km away. New Delhi’s dependence on foreign technology continues unabated. Additionally, India would be encumbered by the 50 tonnes weight of the Agni-V, which would pose a serious problem of quick transportation of the system, since India lacks the infrastructure like suitable roads. Indian exuberance at the test is premature because it would take them several years to operationalize the missiles and induct them into their armed forces. India has become the largest importer of weapons and its expenditure would touch 50 billion USD in the next couple of years. In its mad obsession to compete with China perhaps at the nudging of the US, is definitely going to bleed India dry. It would be better off pursuing more fruitful paths of indigenous development to help its starving teeming millions rather than rekindling fires of arms race. On the other hand, US duplicity is exposed; it is opposing Tehran’s ambitions but approving Indian anti-China nuclear weapons’ development program.
By S M Hali
The writer is a political and defence analyst.
Thank You For Reading