The BrahMos test: a big boost

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Commentary -

In­dia’s tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties got a firm en­dorse­ment in the suc­cess­ful launch of the world’s fastest su­per­sonic cruise mis­sile, grav­ity-dropped from a long-range Sukhoi fighter. The IAF be­comes the world’s first air force to launch a multi-plat­form, multi-mis­sion, self-pro­pelled at­tack mis­sile of this kind, that can po­ten­tially reach Pak­istani tar­gets in the west and in Ti­bet in the east with 99.99 per cent ac­cu­racy. Vari­ants can be de­signed to be de­ployed on Rafales and ad­vanced medium com­bat jets too. Ad­vanced ver­sions of the mis­sile are al­ready on the draw­ing board, to dou­ble their reach and speed and to add a sub­ma­rine launch ca­pa­bil­ity. More sig­nif­i­cant, In­dia’s ‘triad’ of ca­pa­bil­i­ties to launch the mis­siles from land, sea or air en­hances its strate­gic de­ter­rence prow­ess in a sur­charged re­gion.

Be­yond the tech­ni­cal de­tails of what was achieved and what is pos­si­ble in the near fu­ture, what the BrahMos ven­ture’s suc­cess sig­ni­fies is the dura­bil­ity of In­dia-Rus­sia ties. In the his­tory of de­fence re­la­tion­ships, Rus­sia has al­ways been free and forth­com­ing, and has not de­nied In­dia any state-of-the-art weapons tech­nol­ogy un­less specif­i­cally barred by in­ter­na­tional agree­ments. This re­la­tion­ship has been so sta­ble over time that it irks the Chi­nese. The cur­rent vi­bra­tions may be dif­fer­ent in a chang­ing world or­der, but In­dia shouldn’t di­lute its de­fence ties with Rus­sia. There’s no rea­son why In­dia would be com­pelled to go the whole hog in favour of the United States and the West when Rus­sia has been an all-weather friend. There is re­ally no need to choose one or the other as In­dia is in a good po­si­tion. The su­per­sonic mis­sile only proves this.

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