Skip to main content

Fire in the sky (The Hindu)

The successful test-firing of the long-range ballistic missile Agni-V for the fourth time is a significant step towards building a credible nuclear deterrence. With this test and the recent commissioning of the indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant, India is inching towards creating a robust and world-class second-strike capability. For a nation sworn to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, a reliable second-strike capability is an absolute necessity. In the worst-case scenario, the country should have the ability to withstand an enemy nuclear strike on its key locations and launch a successful second strike. Agni-V rose up from a canister mounted on a truck stationed at Dr. Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha, and went up a few hundred kilometres before following a ballistic trajectory and splashing down near Australian waters, some 20 minutes after the launch. This was the fourth test of the Agni-V missile, but the second from a canister mounted on a road mobile launcher. With the four tests, Agni-V is now ready for induction into the Strategic Forces Command, which already operates other Agni missiles with a target range from 700 km to 4,000 km, besides Prithvi-II.
However, despite the impressive strides made by the security establishment in developing nuclear weapons and delivery platforms, there is still a long way to go before the nuclear triad is complete and competent. Just a few days ago, the Nirbhay land attack cruise missile meant to carry nuclear warheads failed for the fourth time during a test. On December 21, it veered off its designated flight path within a couple of minutes of launch, and it had to be destroyed mid-air. There are several such gaps to be filled to ensure a foolproof nuclear triad. A credible second-strike capability should also be complemented by a modern, powerful military. The Indian military is in crying need of modernisation across its three arms. The Air Force has a huge shortage of fighters; the Navy’s submarine arm is far from meeting multiple challenges; and the Army needs an array of new platforms. Most importantly, India also needs to consistently showcase itself as a responsible nuclear power, and not just through a no-first-strike policy. India has a mature political and military leadership today. In a complex global strategic environment, where nations issue nuclear threats based on fake news and global powers threaten to add to their already bulky arsenal, it is important to be recognised as a responsible democracy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

NGT terminates chairmen of pollution control boards in 10 states (downtoearth,)

Cracking the whip on 10 State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) for ad-hoc appointments, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the termination of Chairpersons of these regulatory authorities. The concerned states are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Manipur. The order was given last week by the principal bench of the NGT, chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The recent order of June 8, 2017, comes as a follow-up to an NGT judgment given in August 2016. In that judgment, the NGT had issued directions on appointments of Chairmen and Member Secretaries of the SPCBs, emphasising on crucial roles they have in pollution control and abatement. It then specified required qualifications as well as tenure of the authorities. States were required to act on the orders within three months and frame Rules for appointment [See Box: Highlights of the NGT judgment of 2016 on criteria for SPCB chairperson appointment].

Having fai…