Emerging Markets, Frontier Markets

Indian Government Plans Nuclear Missile Shield In New Delhi

India nuclear missile shieldThe Indian government has positioned two missile-tracking radars in the capital city of New Delhi, the first part of a planned effort to give the city a nuclear missile shield, India’s Economic Times reported on Saturday.

When the shield is completed, it will be able to intercept incoming missiles fired from as far away as 5,000 km (3,100 miles), senior government officials told the Economic Times.

The Swordfish radars, which were developed with Israeli assistance, are the first step of an accelerated process that would create a missile defense system for major Indian cities.  The next city in line to receive a missile defense system is Mumbai, according to the report.

The planned missile shield is expected to be operational by 2016 and is set to bring New Delhi into the ranks of cities like Beijing, Washington, London, and Tel Aviv whom already have such missile shields.

Officials in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration said they had ordered a major acceleration of India’s missile shield program immediately after coming to power last May, the report said.  The next step of the plan will be to establish missile interceptor units.

India’s missile defense plan was established in 2006, however the development progress has been slow over the past two years, culminating in a failed test in April 2014.

In 2012, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) finished developing an interceptor missile with an effective range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles), which they hope to upgrade to 5,000 km (3,100 miles) by 2016.

Officials from the Modi administration told the Economic Times that implementation of the shield was a top priority due to the growing sophistication of the nuclear arsenal possessed by India’s neighbors, mostly Pakistan.

The missile shield is even more critical for India given its ‘no first use’ policy for nuclear weapons, a doctrine which Pakistan doesn’t follow, the report said.

In January, Iran activated its “real Iron Dome” missile defense system, which makes the airspace above the Islamic Republic the safest in the Middle East.


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