Missile nervousness?

It is about an hour to Agni-5’s first launch. What was the reason for the delay of some 11 hours? Last minute glitches in the launch preparations are a possibility. As likely a reason is the sheer nervousness of the DRDO launch authority about the media circus the much publicized launch has become and the imperative, therefore, to ensure that the launch happens without incident, and the missile maintains its designated trajectory — the test of the advanced guidance technologies on-board. The need to alert international shipping and otherwise clear the sea zone for the Agni splash down in the Indian Ocean required adequate notice to be given, of course. So the launch could not be done on the silent, like the underground nuclear weapons tests, with success or failure becoming apparent only after the event. Even so, why did Dr V Saraswat, DRDO boss, have to make such a media occasion of it, raise expectations, and set itself and the country up for possible failure? Though, in all likelihood, success is what awaits Agni-5.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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