Squandering Agni opportunity? Hope not

It is over an hour since Agni-5’s successful launch. Tremendous stuff, in a series of successes the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program has notched up since its founding in 1983. Awaiting reports on the telemetry data that is now being furiously processed by ground stations and by scientsists with monitoring equipment on board Indian navy ships arrayed in the missile’s path downwind of the launch site on Wheeler Island, Odisha coast. But initial accounts suggest that the most critical technologies related to end-phase maneuvering and terminal guidance, in particular, were up to scratch. This is, in fact, the best part of the news and the missile test constitutes a geopolitical and geostrategic moment of import for India. Besides a beneficial political and diplomatic fallout, it has pulled India up into a strategic  deterrence parity situation vis a vis China, and affords the Indian government a giant opportunity to very quickly ride on the Agni-5’s coat-tails and initiate a proactive diplomatic effort with all states on China’s periphery. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, the ASEAN states and especially Vietnam, in the east and the Indian Ocean littoral states in the west, should be worked with to see how best India can proceed quickly with fleshing out the role that great many nations, the United States included, have been urging India to play, namely, as security provider in the extended region, landward as north as Central Asian Republics, as well, to ring-fence China and Chinese ambitions.  MEA cannot lose time, the Manmohan Singh regime cannot afford to waste the opportunity of capitalising on the Asian and international visibility the successful Agni-5 test has provided the country. But if past is prelude and the hallmark pusillanimity of the Manmohan Singh government prevails, that is exactly what will obtain — the squandering of an absolutely fabulous opportunity with endless debate and discussion within government, between specifically the NSA and MEA, etc., but no consequential action, leave alone policies.

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.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, indian policy -- Israel, Iran and West Asia, Missiles, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Strategic Relations with South East Asia & Far East, Strategic Relations with the US & West. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Squandering Agni opportunity? Hope not

  1. Ram Singapore says:

    Absoultely true-Vision, Inoovaatio and courage are the need of the hour!

  2. Ram Singapore says:

    Absolutely true-Vision, Innovation and Courage are the need of the hour! Do we have such a LEADER in India Today?

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