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India Developing Long-Range Missile Interception Capability

The Indian military has begun work on long-range ballistic missile detection technology in accordance with national security efforts to defend against a feared ICBM attack, the Times of India reported on Friday (see GSN, Feb. 10).

The goal is to wield a detection and interception capability that can defeat ballistic missiles with a top flight distance of around 3,100 miles; India currently has antimissile systems that can destroy missiles with a roughly 1,240-mile range.

"We are working on it. If we now have an Agni 5 for [strategic] deterrence, we should also have an air defense system that shields us against ballistic missiles," Defense Research and Development Organization scientist Avinash Chander said in an interview with the Indian newspaper. "Work on developing such a system has already begun"

The Agni 5, a nuclear-capable missile with near-ICBM capabilities, had a successful maiden test launch last month. The long-range missile is seen as aimed primarily at deterring China, according to earlier reporting.

India envisions an ICBM defense system that would automatically scan for and detect missiles launched against the country. After a missile threat has been identified, Indian tactical missiles would be launched against it. "All of this would happen automatically and it is precision that matters most," according to Chander.

Selecting which tactical weapon to fire against an approaching missile would be done based on the threat's flight path, he said (Times of India, May 4).


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