Missile Strategy of India

 

Recrudescence of missile warfare The genesis of use of rockets for military purpose in India dates back to the eighteenth century. However, the real gambit in this field in India began with the introduction of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in 1982-83. The DRDO in conjunction with Ministry of Defence began the staged development program of various missiles with variable ranges. It was envisaged that to protect the diverse topography of India consisting of the variable terrains the nation was in dire need of been equipped with missiles of various ranges and purposes. Missile systems are more of a deterrence against the enemy than a threat. They provide a multi directional cover from lower ranges to higher ranges with least amount of setup in compare to land, air or sea forces. Missile systems are primarily transportable providing a cutting edge over any other method of attack as well as threat. When we study the Indian subcontinent we find the various challenges standing in respect of defence of the nation. Siachen Glacier in the north at 21000 ft. is the world’s highest battle-field, Western border is the vast barren lands of dessert with soring temperatures. The North-Eastern frontier also comprises steep, high ranges and dense tropical forests. To the South, there are ranges close to the sea, inland plateaus interspersed with river valleys and far-flung island territories such as the Lakshadweep to the West and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the East. Catering for the defences of this varied land is a challenge and a potent missile defence programme is an apt solution for this hurdle. Requirement of a Geo-Strategic Missile Defence in Indian Sub-Continent 1. The geographical and topographical diversity, especially on the over 15,000 km long border which we share with seven neighbouring countries (viz., Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Bhutan and Nepal), poses unique challenges to our Armed Forces. 2. India’s peninsular dimension places it adjacent to one of the most vital sea-lanes of the world stretching from the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca through which 55,000 ships and much of the oil from the Gulf region transit each year. 3. India’s location at the base of continental Asia and the top of the Indian Ocean gives it a vantage point in relation to both Central Asia and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Additionally, India’s size, strategic location, trade links and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) links its security environment directly with the extended neighbourhood, particularly neighbouring countries and the regions of Central Asia, South-East Asia, the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. In a globalised world, these strategic-economic factors impose an increasingly larger responsibility on India. 4. South Asia hosts a diversity of political experiences and systems. The region also faces the menace of terrorism and problems by way of proliferation of arms and drugs. Against this background, India stands as a bulwark against fundamentalism and extremism. It is a centre of economic dynamism in the region and as a plural democracy, a bastion of stability and peaceful coexistence. 5. Maritime security concerns have assumed greater significance in the aftermath of the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. The Indian Navy, which has been given the overall responsibility for maritime security is working in coordination with the Coast Guard and other Central and State agencies to deal with challenges of threats from the sea. The intelligence sharing mechanism has been streamlined through the creation of Joint Operation Centres and multiagency coordination mechanism. 6. India sits astride major commercial routes and energy lifelines in the Indian Ocean, namely, the Malacca Strait, Six and Ten-degree channel and the Persian Gulf. Annually, US $200 billion worth of oil passes through the Straits of Hormuz and US $60 billion through the Malacca Strait. By virtue of our geography, we are therefore interested in the security of shipping along the sea lanes of communications in the IOR. 7. India’s maritime interest is not restricted to guarding the coastline and island territories, but also includes safeguarding of our interests in the EEZ as well as keeping our Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) open in times of peace, tension or hostilities.

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