|K-15 being launched from
a pontoon in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Jan. 27: India today successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal, a major stride towards completing its nuclear triad capability.
This is the first missile in the underwater category to have been fully developed by India and can be launched from a submarine. The completion of the triad will give India the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea. So far, it could do so only from land and air.
The missile, with a range of 1500km and called K-15 or BO5, was fired from a pontoon mimicking a submarine. The exercise came on a day China tested a missile defence system, an interceptor.
“All parameters of the test-firing were met,” Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief V.K. Saraswat said.
Only a select few nations, including the US, France, Russia and China, have such missiles, officials said.
A DRDO scientist said the missile tested today was part of the “minimum credible deterrence” that India’s strategic establishment aspired to. It means the DRDO now believes it is ready to deliver to the military establishment a nuclear-tipped missile that can be launched undetected from a submarine.
This is in line with New Delhi’s publicly proclaimed “no-first-strike” policy. The Indian government says it will not fire weapons of mass destruction as a first option in the event of hostilities against an adversary but will develop the capability for a “massive, second retaliatory strike”.
The DRDO may now conduct tests of the missile from a nuclear power and nuclear weapons-capable submarine in the future. This could include INS Arihant, the 6,000-tonne indigenous nuclear submarine now under development, DRDO chief Saraswat said.
Experts agreed the test marked a big leap. “This is a major punctuation in India’s indigenous missile development programme,” said security expert Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar.
Another expert, Commander (retd) Sunil Chauhan, dubbed the move a significant milestone for the country’s strategic forces. Defence analyst Deba R. Mohanty said by achieving the nuclear triad, India could become a global military power in the real sense.
The DRDO is also developing two more underwater missiles — with strike ranges of 750 kilometres and 290 kilometres respectively.