One could say that modern warfare has somewhat shifted from traditional land and air warfare to missile warfare as it is capable of inflicting massive damage deep in enemy territory. As a result of this, nations are not only focusing on developing better and more lethal missles but also on missile defence systems.

India has achieved success in creating such a missile defence system hence becoming only the fifth nation to do so after the US, Russia, Israel and France. The DRDO had conceived the programme in 1999.

India has also decided to install the indigenous ballistic missile defense systems at two villages in Rajasthan – Alwar and Pali – and both are less than 800 kilometers from Islamabad. This defense grid will protect the western and northern regions of India and will guard New Delhi and Mumbai.

The counter attack missiles will be able to provide double layered security with the capacity to shoot down enemy missiles both within the earth’s atmosphere (endo-atmospheric) and outside it (exo-atmospheric).

Components of the Defence System

The primary component is the long-range tracking radar developed in partnership with Israeli company Elta. The second component is a computerized command and control system that plots and predicts the intruding missile’s flight path and assigns interceptor missiles to destroy it. The third component is the interceptor missiles and includes the endo-atmospheric missile that can intercept incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kilometers and the exo-atmospheric missile that can kill an incoming ballistic missile within a range of 2,000 km. It is expected that the DRDO will upgrade the strike range of the exo-atmospheric missile to a mammoth 5,000 km.

A few tests remain to be conducted before the system can be commissioned into the Indian armed forces. In March this year, successful tests of the endo-atmospheric as well as exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles were conducted.

While on this border a missile defence system is being incorporated to fend off Pakistani threats, on the opposite border with China, India is challenging Chinese might by placing regiments of the BrahMos missile. It has been decades since we’ve witnessed an India that is recognizing the threat of its two neighbours and is acting accordingly. The Narendra Modi government has made it clear with its actions that it won’t be intimidated either by Pakistan’s vacuous threats or by China’s incessant saber-rattling.


Vinayak Jain

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