Missile test-launch schedule altered

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.

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, disarmament, domestic politics, DRDO, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Ocean, Missiles, nonproliferation, Nuclear Policy & Strategy, Nuclear Weapons, society, South Asia, Strategic Forces Command, Strategic Relations with the US & West, United States, US., Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Missile test-launch schedule altered

  1. andy says:

    Respected Sir,

    This turn of events is very worrying, to say the least.

    If an overtly nationalistic BJP government won’t exercise India’s sovereign right to conduct a missile test,in deference to American sensibilities, then where is the hope from any other political party?

    Our policy towards the USA should be giving them what they want (but extracting more from them in terms of investments,technologies etc)as long as they accomadate our core national interest, on which there would be no compromise under any conditions whatsoever. But the moot point is does GOI have a short list of such clearly defined core national interests?or even this critical aspect of national planning is also a victim of ad hocism that afflicts vast swathes of GOI?

    Maybe you Sir, could shed some light on this?

  2. ashi says:

    the launch can be done afterwards also
    this is a smart step to avoid unnecessary attention

  3. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    Are you sure then that it was the K-4 and not K-15 that was tested on March 7 ? If the K-4 test is OK (albeit to a shorter range of ca. 700 km), why would the A-5 test be “offensive” ? Modi is losing credibility by following the same old failed policies.

  4. satyaki says:

    @ashi: Not a smart step. Next, you can argue that the launch can be postponed after April since Ashton Carter (U.S Defence Sec.) is visiting. Where does this line of thinking end ? At this rate, each test firing will be postponed by a year or so and final induction will be years late.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.