Indian Missile Defense: Success Too Soon?

Indian Missile Defense: Success Too Soon?

NEW DELHI -- Two weeks ago, a ballistic missile blasted off from a warship sailing in the Bay of Bengal. Its target was Wheeler Island, a small enclave of land off the coast of India and home to one of India's most important missile testing facilities.

Within seconds of the launch, the Indian military's radars and computer banks began tracking the supersonic rocket. Several computations later, an alarm triggered another "hot" missile on the island that, once launched, began pursuing the aggressor warhead. Some 70 kilometers above the earth's surface, the two collided. The rocket's debris fell through the sky, most of it burned and vaporized. What little remained scattered like ash into the vast expanses of the Indian Ocean, marking India's third successful test of its nascent missile defense system.

Over the past few years, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Indian military's scientific arm, has been trying to push India into a very exclusive club: countries that can boast of having a missile defense shield. The only other members so far are the United States, Russia and Israel. The recent success may not have generated the same level of national jubilation as the nuclear tests in 1998, but among strategic circles the satisfaction was clear. "The third consecutive interception of ballistic missile demonstrated the robustness of the Indian BMD system," remarked an overjoyed V. K. Saraswat, program director for India's Air Defense.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review