Indian Strategic Move – Agni Missile–V Test

By Zaheerul Hassan

On 19 April 2012 India entered Into Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Club after successful testing Agni-V. The three-stage, 17-metre tall Agni-V, weighing 50 tones, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of 1.1 tonne. It is the most formidable missile in Indian arsenals which cover a range of more than 5000 Km. Agni-V, painted in white and black with an orange ribbon across, lifted off majestically from a rail mobile launcher at 8.04 a.m. from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha coast. After a 20-minute flight, the missile’s nose-cone carrying a dummy payload impacted near the pre-designated target area with an accuracy of few meters between Australia and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean .After the lift-off, it cut a ballistic path across the sky reaching a height of 600 km, before rapidly descending. The mission was so smooth that the missile’s three stages ignited on time and decoupled with clockwork precision before the re-entry vehicle was injected into the atmosphere at an altitude of 100 km with a velocity of 6,000 meters per second. The re-entry vehicle withstood scorching temperatures of about 3,000 degree Celsius as it sliced into the atmosphere at a remarkably accurate angle. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed and developed Agni-V.

Although DRDO officials claim that Agni-V “is not any country-specific,” the fact remains that the missile is capable of reaching Beijing after flying over the most parts of China and covers complete area of Pakistan. Therefore, India joins the U.S, Russia, France and China, which have ICBM capability. In fact India has created a new dimension in the nuclear arms race in South Asia as it is China specific. At this occasion Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement that successful Agni-V test launch represents another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness. Defense Minister A.K. Anthony called it an “immaculate success.” Dr. V.K. Saraswat Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister has said, “We have made history and became one of major missile”. India was among the select group of countries to have the capability to design, develop, build and manufacture a long-range missile of this class and technological complexity. “The versatile capability of this missile will enable India to leapfrog into areas of Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), anti-satellite weapons and the capability to launch satellites on demand. Avinash Chander, Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO, and Programme Director, Agni-V, called it a “fantastic mission.

According to Washington Post of April 19, 2012 many defence experts have said the Agni-V missile marks a significant improvement in India’s nuclear-deterrent capability and was clearly aimed at bolstering its defense against neighbouring China.

India faced horrible defeat in a border war with China in 1962 and since then relations have remained mutually wary since then. She has also fought three major wars with its Pakistan, which also possesses nuclear weapons. During these wars US always remain supporter of India against China and Pakistan. Disintegration of “Great Soviet Union” introduced new world order. The world changed from Bi-polar to uni-polar system. It brought Washington and New Delhi closer to each other and they concluded Civil Nuclear Deal 123 in 2008. The Indo-US ties relationship mainly revolves around; containment of China, putting 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.

Nevertheless, in 2009, India increased its defense budget by a whopping 28.2 percent or Rs 130,000.00 million. Some experts estimate that military spending will increase further, totaling as much as 200 billion dollars over the period to 2022. Similarly, once again India has raised her defense expenditure for year 2012 & 2013. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India appeared as world number one arms importer and China is at number two whereas America is number one dealer of arms supplier. India now accounts for 9 percent of global arms purchases, followed by China at 6 percent. According to SIPRI’s report India, which seeks to modernize its military in order to keep up with the Chinese, is expected to spend about $80-billion over the next decade. Indian expansion design and her ambitions of becoming continental and regional power and dominance in Indian oceans are unhidden. Indian hasty increase in defence spending has put the global peace at stake. She has also conducted exercise with Code-named as ‘Pralay’ (devastation) in March 2012 in which ground forces, Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar fighter aircraft, IAF has also flown the strategic lift C-130J transport plane along with AN-32 and the AWACS. In recent years, India has bought reconnaissance aircraft from US aerospace, Being of worth 2.1 billion-dollars, medium range missiles for 1.4 billion dollars from Israeli Aerospace Industries, and signed a contract with the Russian Aircraft Corporation to upgrade its MiG 29 squadron for 965 million dollars. Several deals are planned for the near future including one of the largest arms contracts of recent times—a 11-billion-dollar project to acquire 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

In February 2010, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony disclosed that India’s defence expenditure which is 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) is going to increase. Antony explained that our government is committed to rapid modernization of armed forces. Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told lawmakers while announcing rise of 12 percent in the 2012-13 budgets in parliament said that allocation is based on present needs and any further requirement will be met.

However, on current Indian test of Agni-V Missile , China has reacted frostily, with the Global Times newspaper warning that India was being swept up by “missile delusion” and recalling that it has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”The West chooses to overlook India’s disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties,” the Communist Party’s mouthpiece said in an editorial published before the launch. “India should not overestimate its strength,” it wrote. “Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China. India should be clear that China’s nuclear power is stronger and more reliable.”The test comes just days after a failed long-range rocket launch by North Korea, although India is unlikely to face the kind of international condemnation that was directed at Pyongyang.

The west and American have set double standard and shown soft corner towards Indian with regards to other Asian countries. For example Nato and European Union did not consider Agni-V launching as threat. The U.S. State Department said India has a “solid” non-proliferation record, while urging all nuclear states to show restraint. On the other hand , any nuclear progress in Chinese, Iranian and Pakistani nuclear programmes are being taken as serious threat to Israel, west and US.

In short, Indian quest for ‘Arms purchasing’ and development of weapons of Mass destruction is directly threatening regional peace and security of the countries like China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The Indian mindset believes in Maha Bharat concept. Thus she prepared her military doctrine basing on her strategy of becoming initially regional and ultimately a global power. Nuclear era added another dimension to this already bitter saga which pitched Indian against China. United States ticked India as an ally against China. United States role in South Asia always remained questionable because of its ever changing national interests. She did not even feel like condemning India on Agni-V Missile Test since US knows that Maha Bharat concept though covers area of some of western countries but ofcourse does not touch American boundaries. Indian aggressive posture is a real danger to the global peace since all her preparations are apparently connecting to another nuclear war.

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