A second test firing of a cannisterized Agni-5 IRBM, which was announced by DRDO early Feb without the date being revealed, was scheduled from Balasore on the Odisha coast today. It didn’t take place. Instead, a 700km A-1 MRBM was launched, perhaps, as consolation. The talk is the instructions for this change came from PMO which was concerned US President Barack Obama would have been upset by the symbolically “provocative” action of firing a long range missile in the run-up to the nuclear security summit in Washington, thereby imperiling the “success” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip, March 31-April 1.
The problem though is DRDO’s launch schedule cannot so casually be trifled with because there’s high level of preparations that are involved. As mentioned in a previous blog the window for the test firings is for this week. It remains to be seen if the A-5 was merely postponed or taken off the table altogether and should the cannisterized A-5 launch not happen in the next few days, then those in the know claim it’d be a good indication of the BJP govt bending to US’ will much as its predecessor Congress Party regime had done during its tenure, and the desire to please the US Govt is uppermost in its mind rather than the national interest.