[Diplomacy] Nirbhay Missile, Cold Start Doctrine, MTCR Missile Technology Control regime

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  1. Nirbhay Missile: essential facts
  2. Special features of Nirbhay?
  3. What is Cold start doctrine?
    1. Why Cold Start?
    2. Cold Start: Benefits/ pro-arguments
    3. Cold start: limitations / anti arguments
    4. Nirbhay in Cold Start?
  4. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
    1. Nirbhay vs. MTCR
  5. Mock Questions

Nirbhay Missile: essential facts

Nirbhay Missile

GS4: should Dada Thakur obliterate Dr.Dang using Nirbhay missile or take him to court of law?

Missile type
  • Surface to Surface missile.
  • Can carry both nuclear and conventional explosives.
  • Two stage flight
  • Subsonic cruise missile= Less than the speed of sound
Max. Speed? 0.7 mach = 858 kmph (according to wolfram-alpha)
  • American Tomahawk missile
  • Pakistani Babur (Hatf VII) missile. (700kms)
  • 800+ km
  • Flight duration- 1 hour.
Designer? DRDO
Fuel? Aviation kerosene.
Testing @ At Balasore, Odisha

  • 2013, March: #EPICFAIL.
  • 2014, October: Success, hence this stupid article.
  • Lorry, ship, aircraft, submarines
  • Land and sea versions to be ready in next 3 years.
  • Sea versions to have range of 200 to 2000 kms.

Special features of Nirbhay?

  • 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.

What is Cold start doctrine?

  • 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:

  1. Limited BUT Precise strikes in enemy state to prevent (nuclear) retaliation.
  2. Capture small but strategic territories in Pakistan- which can be traded for concessions later on.

Why Cold Start?

  • 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.
Op Parakram: Full military deployment
Good Bad
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).

Cold Start: Benefits/ pro-arguments

  1. Stops enemy from nuclear attack.
  2. Creates an operation tempo- once Cold start begins, Political leaders can’t halt it.
  3. Completes Indian objective before UN/USA/international community intervenes.

Cold start: limitations / anti arguments

  1. To counter India’s Cold start, Pakis will develop small and portable nuke weapons because they can be transported / hidden easily.
  2. But given ISI-nexus, terrorists can grab such weapons.
  3. Then it’ll be far more difficult to stop nuke attacks on Indian cities.
  4. After 26/11/2008 attack on Mumbai, India did not launch cold start attack on Pakistan. Two interpretation:
    1. Cold start is “Theoretical exercise”, and Real world application will either fail or give mixed result, hence Government did not try. OR
    2. Without political will, no doctrine can succeed.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

Nirbhay in Cold Start?

Recall Nirbhay’s special features: Drone-like + attack missile + low flying + no radar detection. Such missile can-

  1. Attack Paki nuclear establishment.
  2. Attack incoming Paki tank columns.
  3. 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.

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

When? 1987
  • Voluntary association of 37 countries
  • Notable members:  Canada, France, Germany, Japan, US, UK.

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
    • UAVs
    • 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.

Nirbhay vs. MTCR

  • 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?
  • No experience-building. So their engineers and scientists will always have to steal and smuggle technology in future.
  • Hard to get warranty/replacement/ after sales service because it’s a smuggled Chinese technology!

Mock Questions

CSAT MCQ: Which of the following statements are incorrect?

  1. Nirbhay is a subsonic cruise missile, with range of approximate 800 kms.
  2. Nirbhay uses a 3-stage solid rocket fuel.
  3. Nirbhay is a tree-top loitering missile developed using imported Tomahawk technology.

Answer choices

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Mains answer following in 200 words each

  1. GS2: Compare and contrast Cold start vs Massed offensive doctrines. Which one is more suitable against Pakistan?
  2. GS3: Discuss the Milestones in the indigenously developed defense technology of India.

For more articles on Diplomacy, international relations (IR) and Defense, visit Mrunal.org/Diplomacy.

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51 Comments on “[Diplomacy] Nirbhay Missile, Cold Start Doctrine, MTCR Missile Technology Control regime”

  1. 0.7 mach speed means
    0.7 of velocity of sound i.e. 0.7 ×450=340 approx.
    Plzzz elaborate

    1. mach= velocity of light/ velocity of object……your ans is 3 x 10^8/0.7=4.2

    2. v of sound= 340 meter/sec = 1235 km/hr.
      so 0.7*1235 = 864.

    3. Cast organisation, cast conferences, cast federation in sociology means? It has appeared in mains paper.

  2. Good work,THANKS SIR.

  3. pls Mrunal BHAI provide some banking materials

  4. 1 mach= 1225 kmph

  5. bahut badhiya likha hai.maja aa gaya,bhai sahab

  6. mrunal sir, rajtanil sir thnks. abhi news me kafi tha in sbke bare me but crystal clear nai hua tha but after reading this all is well. dr dang quite good name. so innovative. thnk u so much sir.
    ans. B

  7. Tell me how prepare scince&tech ?

  8. So nicely explained…thx alot mrunal sir :)..keep up the momentum

  9. hey friends..how to dispatch the mains application form either by registered post or ordinary post?

  10. Excellent work Mrunal Sir… Thanks.

  11. Grt work….bro..

  12. After having filled up the United India Insurance form, I noticed that my date of passing is wrongly mentioned. INsted of 2012, it is 2014. What shall I do? Please help anyone.

  13. Sir aap ye picture kaise edit karte hai, jaise ye anupam kher wala. Which software or website? plz reply.

  14. its really nice……….. you always start from background and ends with future prospects…… too good………. giving both objective and subjective qs is also a good strategy

  15. awesome job its helping lot…

  16. thanq very much sir…….

  17. Mrunal bhai tum jio hazaro saal(gang v included hai!)
    Ek hi jagah pe sab kuch itne badhia tarike se compiled kia hua Sirf mrunal.org ke yahan.
    tabhi to khoon khaulta hai, koi ulta sidha likhe to.
    Really a grat work.

  18. thanks for valuable information (Mrunal Bro)

  19. outstanding………….

  20. Time to change the layout. Every fact presented in tables that we are accoustomed for making comparisons. Eye disturbing presentation.

    You mingle everything in everything, increasing the task to differentiate and absorb. This way only partially facts gets their place in brain.

    Will you please explain why do you write ai point format and suddenly number format and ultimately tables blend in.

    Dear Sir,
    If you do all this to create a mind map kind of thing, or evolving a new sort of memoraing technique, I personally feel, is futile.

    I suggest to follow simple format like,


    Fatcs without bullet numbering or points

    Second fact…..

    All this bundled in a light color so that it can be understood that the light green portion is about cold start, light red about missile, light violet is about mctr and so on..

    1. you should probably be requesting for a change , not the way how you are insisting !

      I appreciate Mrunalji’s commendable, selfless and persistent effort, i hope everybody else feel the same too.

      you are free to make your own notes, however you want to.

      1. I agree with Aks, I also like the way mrunal n team presents the article. God bless them

      2. It was meant for mrunal, not you. You can too advice him to remain unchanged. Simple :)

  21. if 300 km plus missiles violate MTCR then how come nirbhay with range of 800 doesnt?

    1. Bcoz it’s 80% material is indigenous

      MTCR only restricts tranfer of technology for WMD which India didn’t

  22. Sir provide some fodder on future of demolished planning commission.
    What is modi govt doing for planning commission?सभी अपनी अपनी टिप्पणी करे।

  23. Stil its hard to bliv dat India wil apply cold start…lack of political consensus…reluctance in shedding off image of non violent peace living country…evn if terrorist or pak emu slaughter our daring soldiers…
    I wish these politicians esp defence ministry officials wud hv been given training and briefed situation at border by allowing dem accommodation in border areas for few months…

    1. This statement of urs shows u hv no knowledge about ground reality.this is what pak wants from us, a retaliation and they ud internationalise it, to draw critism towards India. With no one’s support, with millions of problems, whatever we have achieved in these 67 yrs,needs to be praised,4 d same non-violent attitude, we are re-emerģing, the world is looking at us.
      there may b political differences bt when it comes to defence, we all r 1.

      1. Ok…m nt denying ur point…
        Bt was it justified to let Pakistani soldiers slay our soldiers brutally and carry away their heads ?
        Pentagon report hs reported paks role in instigating militant action against India… Wat provoked their ally to release sch report ?
        Why was their need to revise NFU policy ?
        D fact is these 67 yrs our deterrence hav nly embolnede their resolve to attack n destabilize communal harmony of India…
        India is knwn fr her diverse culture n secular character…no one at any cost be allowed to play wid her constitutional principles…
        World is nt mute spectators n in dis globalised era, countries bliv in peace and humanity… So y to bother fr internatipnalising a genuine cause..(nt in context of Kashmir as its our integral part . I m talking wen pak attacks India or violate ceasefire agrmnt..)


  25. Its Urgent Please respond..

    I am filling DAF, there is question saying (23rd Question) ‘Whether you have been selected or applied for U.P.S.C. Examination /Recruitment:- ” this is my 2nd Attempt in CSE and i have not applied/appeared ‘other’ upsc exams (like IES, CAPF etc)..

    My dilemma is already i have mentioned about CSE in Next (24th) question , do i need to fill this as YES(coz CSP 2013) or NO( coz information about it already provided in next qn and its asking about other UPSC exams like IES,CAPF etc…) …????

    Mrunal sir/ Any informed candidates … Please repond ASAP.

  26. sir plz help me cpf 2014 ka result kb tk aayega and maine uppsc- rajasv nirikshak ka form fill kra h bt us m photo k backside k colour m problem aarhi h bt form summit b ho gya h khi vha se reject to nhi hoga plz help me

  27. Sir,

    You have provided great guidence and help to all for various exams n subjects with a lot of information.
    I want to know the reliable study material i.e. booklist/authors for BOTANY & ZOOLOGY as optional subject for upsc civil mains.
    I have already searched many times but detail not found while the booklist or source for many other subjects are available here.
    You are therefore, requested to provide me the guidence/information for same if possible please.

    Thanking you.

    (Deepak singh)

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