- Nirbhay Missile: essential facts
- Special features of Nirbhay?
- What is Cold start doctrine?
- Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
- Mock Questions
|Max. Speed?||0.7 mach = 858 kmph (according to wolfram-alpha)|
|Testing @||At Balasore, Odisha
- Nirbhay designed from pilotless Lakshya drone (0.68 Mach speed). Therefore, it has features of both a missile and an aircraft.
- Like the Lakshya drone, it can be remotely controlled, can be brought back after mission is over.
- Nirbhay takes off vertically like a missile. But after reaching 800 mts height, it turns horizontally, spreads wings like an aircraft, and can fly upto 800-1000 kms range.
- Can carry multiple payloads to attack multiple targets.
- Seeker system: to lock-on the target, after launch.
|Loitering Missile||Nirbhay can circle over an area for many minutes and pick out the target.|
|Tree Top Missile||Nirbhay can fly at very low altitude to avoid detection. Enemy aircrafts, anti-missile technology can’t destroy it easily.|
Because of all these features, missile is aptly named “Nirbhay” -sanskrit word for “Fearless”.
Make in India angle?
- Nirbhay is India’s first long range subsonic missile.
- 80% of Nirbhay parts are indigenous built.
- After 2022, India will not have to import any missiles.
- In conventional Military power, India far superior than Pakistanis.
- But Paki got nuke bomb and proxy war tools. So conventional military power faces some limitations.
- So, India developed “cold start” offensive doctrine- it is not ‘official’ but experts believe it exists.
Cold start doctrine involves following:
- Limited BUT Precise strikes in enemy state to prevent (nuclear) retaliation.
- Capture small but strategic territories in Pakistan- which can be traded for concessions later on.
- Cold start saves a country from the limitations of conventional military mobilization or “massed offensive doctrine”. Let’s understand with Op.Parakram:
- 2001, 13th December: Terrorists attack Indian Parliament. Indian responds with “Operation Parakram”- full military mobilization at border for 10 months from January to October 2002.
|Boosted morale of army||Took almost a month to mobilize entire army. Such time-lag helps Enemy approach UN or foreign ally for help and reinforcements.|
|Terrorist infiltration declined significantly, due to heavy military presence at border.||India lacked the “next step” or “exit plan” After Op. Parakram. Government did not want a full scale war with Pakistan and 10-month deployment cost thousands of crores.|
|Pak sponsored terrorism came under international media scrutiny||Godhara riots (2002) opened a new front and India too came under international media scrutiny. It became difficult for Government to focus on two fronts- internal riots and border tension.|
|Pakistan got a convenient excuse for nuclear proliferation i.e. India threatens us by posting entire army on border, so we need truckload of nukes to “deter” them.|
|India awaited US response. But they did not reveal the cards for a long time. Further escalating costs without result.|
Moral of the story:
- Coercive diplomacy and full military mobilization are not the perfect tools for Indo-Pak situation.
- Cold start / surgical strikes / punitive actions are ideal tools against Pakis.
- 2004: Indian army has adopted “limited war doctrine”.
- Though India doesn’t officially acknowledge cold start doctrine but recent military exercise prove that it exists- for example: Op. Vijayee Bhava (2011), Op. Sudarshan Shakti (2011).
- Stops enemy from nuclear attack.
- Creates an operation tempo- once Cold start begins, Political leaders can’t halt it.
- Completes Indian objective before UN/USA/international community intervenes.
- To counter India’s Cold start, Pakis will develop small and portable nuke weapons because they can be transported / hidden easily.
- But given ISI-nexus, terrorists can grab such weapons.
- Then it’ll be far more difficult to stop nuke attacks on Indian cities.
- After 26/11/2008 attack on Mumbai, India did not launch cold start attack on Pakistan. Two interpretation:
- Cold start is “Theoretical exercise”, and Real world application will either fail or give mixed result, hence Government did not try. OR
- Without political will, no doctrine can succeed.
- Point 4 leads to next limitation: Cold start only envisages “what we will do” but there is no plan on : “when we will do it?” e.g. after ___ no. of Indians are killed by a single terrorist attack /ceasefire violation, then we’ll definitely erase all nuclear facilities in Pakistan.
- Some experts believe India’s Cold Start doctrine is “army-centric” because the three Indian defense services don’t have robust ‘joint-structures’ for coordination. So, in real-life scenario, Cold-start will be an #EPICFAIL.
Anyways, back to the original topic:
Recall Nirbhay’s special features: Drone-like + attack missile + low flying + no radar detection. Such missile can-
- Attack Paki nuclear establishment.
- Attack incoming Paki tank columns.
- Surgical attack on a specific area within densely populated cities of Pakistan e.g. house of Hafeez Syeed or Dawood Ibrahim- that too before Paki radars or jets can detect Nirbhay.
Thus, Nirbhay will be a “force Multiplier” for India’s Cold Start Doctrine. Although Nirbhay alone is insufficient, we need modernization in other areas as well.
What is the Purpose of MTCR?
- WMD: Weapons of mass destruction – 3 types Nuclear, chemical and biological.
- MTCR aim to limit technology transfer that can be used for launching WMDs. For example
- Missiles that can carry 500kg payloads for atleast 300 kms.
- MTCR uses Common export policy guidelines, National export licensing and foreign monitoring to limit their transfer, although there is no formal treaty or international binding agreement.
- 1988: India tested first Agni missile.
- 1989: USA led MTCR forbade India from getting further missile technology.
- Later, USSR collapsed, We were forced to become self-reliant.
- Nirbhay: Desi subsonic cruise missile with range 800-1000 kms. So, we’ve not violated MTCR.
|Good for India?||Experience building. New weapons can be developed using the research data.|
|Bad for India?||Lot of time and money wasted because we had to go by trial-error.|
- Pakistan’s Babar (cruise) and Shaheen (Ballistic) missile developed using Chinese technology.
- MTCR violated because in the 90s, China promised to comply with MTCR, without joining as a member.
|Good for Pak?||Atleast they did not have to waste time and money doing trial-errors like India.|
|Bad for Pak?||
CSAT MCQ: Which of the following statements are incorrect?
- Nirbhay is a subsonic cruise missile, with range of approximate 800 kms.
- Nirbhay uses a 3-stage solid rocket fuel.
- Nirbhay is a tree-top loitering missile developed using imported Tomahawk technology.
- Only 1 and 2
- Only 2 and 3
- Only 1 and 3
- None of them
Mains answer following in 200 words each
- GS2: Compare and contrast Cold start vs Massed offensive doctrines. Which one is more suitable against Pakistan?
- GS3: Discuss the Milestones in the indigenously developed defense technology of India.
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