India flag

India

Facilities

Last Updated: December, 2011

Chemical

A high level of secrecy surrounds India's chemical warfare (CW) program, making it difficult to determine the exact number of chemical weapons facilities and organizations involved. India publicly acknowledged that it had a CW program after ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997, but information on its chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities remains strictly confidential. Under the CWC, India has declared three chemical weapon production facilities (CWPFs), two chemical weapon storage facilities (CWSFs), and two chemical weapon destruction facilities (CWDFs). India has also declared one Schedule 1 facility, four Schedule 2 facilities, 30 Schedule 3 facilities, and 19 discrete organic chemicals (DOC) facilities in its industry declaration.

Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversees the implementation of the CWC, have conducted routine inspections at a number of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) facilities involved in chemical weapon production, including sites in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh; at Ojhar, near Nashik, Maharashtra; and at Ozra (location unknown). India has been more forthcoming about its chemical defense facilities. At least four government-owned facilities are involved in some type of chemical defense activity. Since September 11, 2001, and the anthrax attacks in the United States, there has been an increasing interest in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defense in India, and a number of NBC-related courses have been established in both the government and private sectors.

Control over India's CW program officially starts with the government of India, which is responsible for ensuring the country's defense. Although the office of the president is nominally in command of the armed forces, the executive responsibility for national defense and for the CW program rests with the Union Cabinet headed by the prime minister. The next level down is the Raksha Mantri (defense minister). Within the Ministry of Defense, the CW program is overseen by the Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D), which is headed by a secretary, who is also the scientific adviser to the Defense Minister. The main function of the DDR&D is the formulation of research, design, and development plans for equipment used by the three military services. Reporting to the DDR&D is the Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), which administers the government laboratories working in the CW area.

The government-owned facilities involved in CW research, manufacturing, testing, and other related activities are located in various states throughout India. Two key DRDO facilities involved in CW defense research include the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE), in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, and the Defence Materials & Stores Research & Development Establishment (DMSRDE), in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. A number of other DRDO facilities, including the Research & Development Establishment (Engineering) (R&DE), in Pune, Maharashtra, and the Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (VRDE), in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, also participate in chemical defense research. The DRDO laboratories interact with a number of academic institutions across India, including the Indian Institutes of Technology, and work closely with the private sector for the manufacture of DRDO laboratory-produced technologies. The DRDO laboratory in Gwalior is also a regional training center for the OPCW. Chemical defense-related activities also occur outside the DRDO within the three military services: The Indian government has set up NBC warfare directorates in the Army, located in Pune, Maharashtra; the Navy, at INS Shivaji, in Lonavla, Maharashtra; and the Air Force, in Chandigarh.

Sources:
[1] Defence Research and Development Organisation, "DRDO — An Organisation of the Ministry of Defence," www.drdo.com;
[2] Defence Research and Development Organisation, "Site Map," www.drdo.com;
[3] Rezaul H. Laskar, "DRDO gears up to counter bio-terrorism," 15 October 2001, www.rediff.com.

Facilities Descriptions

Chemical-Military Organizations

Biological

Information regarding potential biological warfare pursuits on the part of India remains scarce. India is a signatory of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and has pledged not to develop an offensive biological warfare (BW) program. Open source data indicating the existence of a covert program is scarce, but India is theoretically capable of redirecting peaceful or defensive research toward offensive applications. There is a multitude of facilities across India undertaking research on a variety of biotechnology-related issues. Having a strong agricultural base, India has a number of laboratories and facilities that conduct research on various pesticides and diseases affecting agricultural crops. Furthermore, like most developing nations, India conducts research on several endemic diseases that have been weaponized by other nations in the past. For instance, given the plague outbreak of 1994 and several anthrax-related scares in 2001, India's research on these pathogens is understandable. Ultimately, while there is a strong biological infrastructure in place that could mask a covert offensive BW program, no open source data indicates that this is the case.

India does conduct defensive BW research, brought to light in statements made by military spokespersons regarding various defensive exercises involving nuclear, chemical, and biological (NBC) warfare. Since September 11 and the anthrax attacks in the United States, there has been an increasing interest in NBC defense in India, and a number of NBC-related courses have been established in both the government and private sectors.

Control over India's BW program officially starts with the government of India, which is responsible for ensuring the country's defense. Although the office of the president is nominally in command of the armed forces, the executive responsibility for national defense and for the chemical warfare program rests with the Union Cabinet headed by the prime minister. The next subordinate level is the defense minister. Within the Ministry of Defence, the BW program is overseen by the Department of Defence Research & Development (DDR&D), headed by a Secretary who also serves as Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister. The main function of the DDR&D is the formulation of research, design, and development plans for equipment used by the three military services. Reporting to the DDR&D is the Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), which administers the government laboratories working in the BW arena.

Facilities Descriptions

Biological-Production

Missiles

The below entries provide analytical descriptions of selected missile facilities in India. Since definitive information on India's missile facilities is often classified, the descriptions and locations of these facilities are sometimes speculative, based on the most credible available open source material. Entries are regularly updated as further information becomes available.

Facilities Descriptions

Missile-Testing

Nuclear

The below entries provide analytical descriptions of selected nuclear facilities in India. Since definitive information on India's nuclear facilities is often classified, the descriptions and locations of these facilities are sometimes speculative, based on the most credible available open source material. Entries are regularly updated as further information becomes available.

Facilities Descriptions

Get the Facts on India
  • 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver permits nuclear trade even though it is not an NPT member
  • Abandoned its offensive chemical weapons (CW) program by 1997 and destroyed its entire CW stockpile by 2009
  • Developing a hypersonic cruise missile in collaboration with the Russian Federation

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2016.