INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS
We Nuclear Ready? –– India’s Nuclear Dilemma
(An interview with a strategic rocket engineer-at the Paris Air Show, 2001.)
New Delhi, 04 August 2001
Is India Nuclear Ready?
of our visitors have read our earlier piece
on India' nuclear readiness. We now have
We therefore worry
about the status and the command
and control, that is being fought over by the three Chiefs and the upper
echelons of the MOD. Let us be frank, the subject is least studied by
politicians and bureaucrats who have vested intersests, as it is linked
with the CDS issue. It is well known that the IAF is vehemently opposed to
the present thinking articulated by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, who
diligently tried to formulate the template. It was reported in the media
this morning that the Air Chief has written to the Defence Minister
Jaswant Singh opposing the CDS structure and saying that the Air Force
point of view has not been heeded. Now there are leaks galore in the
The author of the best book IDC has read on India’s Nuclear Story titled, THE ARMAGEDDON FACTOR', by Dr Sanjay Badri Maharaj, Lancers, sent in these comments. (brackets and italics by IDC.)
Naval Prithvi was a real tech demonstrator to ascertain technologies
needed for eventual launch of ballistic missiles at sea. All the nonsense
talk of it being an operational possibility was bizarre and was given too
much credence by a press that doesn’t try to think first.( IDC agrees
but the Navy too has Swadeshi lobbies.)
to the German story of rocket material supplies and denial by India.
Germany’s strict export
control laws supply of materials used for long-range missiles and weapons
of mass destruction and defence materials are restricted. MCTR laws also
apply but India is not a signatory to MCTR.
German weekly newspaper Die Woche of
Wurzburg in Bavaria reported that
a firm shipped eight hydraulic
cylinders to India for use in the nuclear-capable
Agni intermediate range ballistic missile, which is planned for induction
this late year, to
a range of 2,500 km. (IDC
has expained the nuclear compartment in the Missile in our story before
this leak.) Legal source Bauer
has not disclosed the name of
the firm and said, “we do not want to geopardise the ongoing
investigation.” (IDC had earlier analysed that spending on the
nuclear armoury ,outside of the Defence Budget was very much on and
rampant imports were also on. )
said the materials shipped to India included parts used for the ignition
platform of medium-range missiles. His office said it had sought
information and comments from India but had not received any information
to shed light on the supply of the sensitive materials. The company, Bauer
said, had violated German trade laws by obtaining an export permit after
making false declarations that the cylinders were meant for use in
specialised vehicles used in bridge construction. (Is that possible.
Does India have such super duper bridge building vehicles. IDC has not
seen but if BARC/DRDO has
done it in national interest --
Bravo Zulu! ) There are five earlier cases of illegal exports by
Germany including those to Iraq and Libya .
have seen these reports ( They seem to be all over ). None of the
equipment supplied have been
utilised in any missiles,” external affairs ministry spokeswoman
Nirupama Rao told journalists. “Though
India is not a signatory to the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime),
there is no violation here of that regime.” ( There is catch here)
“India’s record of not transferring WMD (weapons of mass destruction)-related technology and adherence to its international obligations is impeccable,” she asserted.
India went overtly nuclear in May 1998 and successfully exploded both
nuclear and thermo nuclear devices at Pokhran, though there is debate over
the yield and efficacy of the latter. In the recent past IDC has bared
many views on the subject including Dr Iyengar’s lecture at the USI. The
debate breathes and India’s nuclear bomb programme is in the hands of
the civilian scientists at BARC and in the past Capt Subba Rao had exposed some truths and fallacies about how BARC went about the ATV
nuclear submarine programme.
be this time they are on firmer ground but the nuclear experts IDC met at
the Paris air show had their doubts on the size, shape and design of the
thermo nuclear device and if BARC are confident then there is no harm in
crowing about it. Computers today can prove or disprove the efficacy of
the device. It adds to deterrence.
IDC believes there should be another military agency in the loop to be
held responsible to audit the facts as national security is involved. It
is probably the DRDO and they have had their problems too. AEC now has no
control over BARC. Across the border and LOC, Pakistan has always steered
their nuclear programme via military control and their officers studied
the subject deeply in USA while Indian armed forces were told to shun it.
They have Lt Gen Ghulam Mustaffa as the Commander of the Strategic Forces
an off shoot of the Artillery which has a Rocket force of missiles such as
Hatf (solid fuel 300 km) and Ghauri (600 km liquid fuel M 9) and Shaheen
(solid fuel 1000 km) in place and the 9 Corps Commanders that control
Pakistan are in the loop of the plans .The Army Chief controls the trigger
and has made no bones about announcing that Pakistan is nuclear capable
and does not believe in no first use, so provides its deterrence for India
to bear in mind.
is this fact and repercussions and world opinion –– in that order,
that dissuaded the PM and the Cabinet Committee from allowing the Army or
the IAF to cross the LOC in the Kargil war and we should not sweep this
telling fact under the carpet. Deterrence is a serious matter and tomes
have been written about it. A sense of openness is part of deterrence.
Some say Vajpayee is like Nehru and evades military matters and leaves it
to the others. In any case poets never much cared for fighting polemics.
The science of human conflict and war has to be addressed by leaders
India the Defence Minister earlier George Fernandes and now double hatted
Jaswant Singh, in the year 2001, have assured the nation that India has
been provided a deterrence capability and India is capable of a second
strike should Pakistan or China strike .The trigger is controlled by the
PM . But IDC debates whether that is the case? The Services the users,
have never openly said that they are capable of a second strike, which has
to be terribly retaliatory and almost as swift as the first strike and is
part of deterrence to dissuade any one from launching first.
the past, a few like Air Chief Marshal Mehra in the Air Force, claimed
that they knew about how the bombs would be transported, fitted and
delivered with the toss bombing technique, but never shared this knowledge
with the other two Chiefs. The basic theory of deterrence as it has
prevailed thus far between Russia, America, UK and France is to
demonstrate your capability and thus deter the other party and so get them
to negotiate CBMs. This is not being done in India.
be a new theory is being coined as the National Security Adviser who is
PM’s blue eyed boy Brajesh Misra, has spoken out in the past many times
on India’s nuclear theory and is India’s repository and one man think
tank. He has met US experts and if he was able to convince them of
India’s deterrence theory then we are in safe hands. But he has gone
silent of late.
there is a feeling in India, thanks to Gandhiji’s teachings, that no one
in his right senses will ever use a nuclear bomb but then the Clash of
Civilisations is revealing to be what Samuel Huntington had predicted. It
is becoming a fact of life that strife between Hindus and Muslims over
Kashmir could escalate. We only have to introspect the Intafada in
Palestine vs Israel scenario, the Kososvo and Serb imbroglio and nearer
home the Afganistan, Taliban and India–Pakistan rhetoric over Kashmir,
any thing is possible.
Kargil we went running to the President of USA when the chips were down
and he made Pakistan fall into line just when our boys were getting on top
of the matter at great cost .The book ‘Dragon Fire’ has painted a
possible and realistic scenario wherein India was required to exercise the
nuclear option when renegade Tibetans struck Lhasa, by commandeering IAF
planes and helicopters surreptitiously.
attended the Paris air show and met up with experts on nuclear warfare and
discussed India's Agni and Prithvi missiles which will possibly be nuclear
tipped and the IAF’s ability for aerial drops of 1000 pounders by the
Mirage 2000H and the SU 30s. One was Dr. Victor Andryushin an engineer
from the Moscow University, currently a professor, who gave the following
interview on the opening day of the Paris air show. As for his background
Andryushin formerly worked at an SS-25 Strategic Mobile Missile location,
and designed various aspects of this and other missile systems. He was
therefore able to explain how the nuclear head is attached to the
container for the missile. He is now Chief Operating Officer of the
Puskovie Uslugi, a Launch Service Provider as most of these engineers have
had to shift to other jobs.
at present provides launch vehicles based on the SS-25 missile for
International satellite launches. He explained the missile and we can make
out the PSLV is the precursor of the Agni. The following information about
the operational characteristics of the SS-25 missile were disclosed. The
SS-25, is required to be dismantled under the START agreement, can be
rendered useless by using it as the booster for space launchers. There are
a few hundred of these missiles available for such launches and it is like
the Agni but just a lot bigger and our interest was in the marrying of the
model of the space launch configuration at the Puskovie Uslugi stand at
the Air Show was on display. He explained that on the cover over the nose
cone for the container, there was a large hatch for gaining access to the
nose cone. This same type is used for transportation, and was used on the
predecessor to the SS-25, the SS-20. Since India has a no first strike
policy he said the bomb will have to be attached and that will need many
safe guards and drills. There was no need for access to the nuclear
warhead in the case of the SS-20 or the SS-25 because the nuclear warheads
were always attached to the missiles, since these missiles were at the
highest state of readiness, being strategic missiles. This set IDC thinking
and since we have been getting feed back from experts the world over we
would love to hear from you.
interest on the model of the container, were the two access tubes, about
2/3 of the way down from the tip of the container. These were for humidity
and temperature control of the solid propellant missile, and the
temperature had to be maintained at 18 to 19 degrees C. Hence an elaborate
air conditioning system will be needed in India and the users i.e. the
Armed Forces will need to be trained adequately. This is either not yet
progressed or being done secretly like the UTI funds were being managed,
but for deterrence the theory that IDC so far knows, is more openness and
after the Agra summit Musharraf must not get the feeling we are soft.
The Service Chiefs like brides were kept away from the cigar smoking dog loving General and the one Chief that did stand in line in front of him, IDC learns did not salute, and that could not have made Musharraf feel welcome, though the visitor made no issue of it and our Chief has remained silent.
Do email in especially if you disagree with our analysis.
IDC analysis stands justified as Rahul Dutta in Indian Express of 02 Aug has just disclosed that the the Army's 333 Missile Group will be nuclear capable from Secunderabad with 8 Launchers of 150 Km Prithvi. So MOD seems to be taking decisions as inputs of Pakistan sink in. He says the IAF 250 Km missile will not be nuclear tipped and the Navy too will not get the Prithvi.
It will be a retrograde step if the fine Indian Navy did take on the clumsy liquid fuelled Prithvi missile to sea . The last test failed. The Navy' inventory of Surface to surface Missiles with the URAN, KLUB and BRAMHOS to come (from NPO Mach of Russia tested on 12 Jun at Chandipur) and even the older P 22 and 21 were far more tested and easy to handle and the last two are now ancient. How the Indian Navy supported the Prithvi when Bramhos was on the cards beats IDC, but then some times like UTI the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Please also read interview with Arun Shourie by rediff.com.