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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Right Strategic Decision on Agni IV

The man who delivered anti-ballistic missile shield, if not the shield, at least the precursor technology, V.K. Saraswat, is strategically accurate when he says ICBM is not a capability we should focus on.

To a question, he said: “The ICBM is not our priority. India doesn’t need to build an ICBM to defend herself based on the current threat perception.”

He said Agni-IV was in the design stage. “Agni-IV is better than Agni-III in terms of performance envelop.”

He, however, declined to mention the range or the time frame for the first flight trial. He said two more flight tests for Agni-III would be conducted. [India not in the race for making ICBMs: Saraswat - The Hindu]

While Agni III, which was tested in April 2007, can reach most of China, the enhanced version, Agni IV, will cover the extreme northeast portion of Chinese territory where it has significant long-distance missile assets located. While most Chinese ICBMs, in the 10s, according to American analysts, are pointed towards US, they can easily be re-targeted. China considers US a strategic adversary, just like US does it.

Bharat, on the other hand, has no global ambitions, and without any animosity towards US and Russia, would rather get along with the rest of the world. Neither of these countries have animosity towards Bharat but they have deployed ICBMs that can be re-targeted easily. EU nations capability is degrading rapidly while Latin America countries are mostly second/third tier powers.

While deployed Agni IV will act to deter Chinese policy makers, stopping deployment after Agni IV by just having ICBM capabilities should suffice at this moment of Bharatiya's power project. If the world changes radically in the future, having ICBM capability would be sufficient for geopolitic power play until actual deployment, if needed.