India has done what it needed to do. It has successfully launched an ICBM yesterday which met most of the parameters set for it. It took 20 minutes to cover 5000 Km distance by going into space and coming back before it slashed down between southern tips of Australia and Africa. The team leader Mr Saraswat deserves congratulations from every Indian. The preparation for this took almost thirty years and it gives us the same edge that China and other four have in terms of capacity to shoot across continents. Before I write further I would like you to pay attention to the following paragraph which formed part of my post ‘Dalai Lama Is An Honoured Guest’ published on http://www.birdinfo.net in Oct 2009 :
‘We may very diplomatically invite Chinese capital for investment in India and keep importing cheaply produced goods from there and side by side develop our missile programme to cover each of centres of importance deep in China without going for extensive defence expenditure which is thinly spread. It will be impossible for China to carry a war for long period that is being fought at our border as the great Himalayas would restrict the effort.’
After about two and half years since then India has precisely achieved the capability that was missing while we were having to get upset every time China treated us as a lesser power of no great importance. The Chinese response to our missile launch has been such as should not have come from a nation that already derives comfort form having fully developed missile program. China does not have the capacity to treat equals as equals and also does not treat the lesser ones with respect. It has not been restricting itself from flexing muscle on ground and on occasions uses them too. In this light the missile program in India should be a continuous process . The rest of the world would not mind it too.
This missile can not be stopped once it is triggered . Let me tell you some thing interesting here that there is reference in Mahabharata , an Indian epic of a similar weapon called ‘Brahmastra’ . Mahabharata also speaks at length of the requirement of weapons of mass destruction to be possessed only by the right people. We do deserve to have it in our arsenal as India has never been aggressive militarily ever in history but has been a victim of aggression all through ages. Such deterrents are our need which can be ignored only at our own peril.
There is one thing however. We are lacking in policy framing concerning the core defense related matters. We should have an underlying theme in this respect and should have a body of thinkers , philosophers and experts formulating it. It may not have to change stances without fully deliberating matters irrespective of the keenness of the govt to alter things. Our forces had to give away advantages in many ways post 1965 war and post 1971 war , just because govt had its way. Earlier in conflict with China in 1962 we had no assessment of enemy’s power and had no solid strategy. The govt may well insist on having its intentions carried out but how to do it should be left to strong defense body which has some continuity.