June 5, 2009

India upgrading ballistic missile defence system

India has perfected the first part of its ballistic missile defence system, under which it can successfully intercept intermediate range enemy missiles (IRBMs) with a range of up to 2,000 km, according to VK Saraswat, chief controller, research and development (missiles), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Speaking to media persons at Chidambaram town, where he was attending the staff development programme of the faculty of engineering and technology of Annamalai University, Saraswat said that under the second part of the development programme the country would enhance its missile defence capability to engage intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a range of 5,000-6,000-km.

He pointed out with India's neighbour on the western border in possession of missiles of 600 to 2,000-km (IRBM) range and the neighbour to the north-east armed with ICBMs, it was imperative that the country had a ballistic missile defence (BMD) system in place.

He pointed out that BMDs acquired particular significance keeping in mind the stockpiling of missiles with nuclear warheads by one particular neighbour.

He also pointed out that since India had adopted the ''no first use'' policy with respect to nuclear warfare it was even more important that the country should have the capacity to counter nay attack launched in its direction.

He said that two BMD tests conducted by the country had demonstrated the capability of the indigenous system. A test conducted in 2008 successfully engaged a 1000-km range (IRBM) missile at an altitude of below 20 km. Another test in March this year successfully intercepted a 2,000-km range (IRBM) missile at an altitude of 80 km.

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