Special Correspondent

‘It will provide the country with second strike capability'

‘DRDO capable of designing anti-satellite system'

‘All future wars may be low intensity conflicts'

MYSORE: Agni-V, India's version of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of more than 5,000 km, will be test-fired by early 2011, according to W. Selvamurthy, Chief Controller, R and D (Life Sciences), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

He was interacting with presspersons here on Thursday on the sidelines of a seminar on Futuristic Food Requirement of the Armed Forces organised by the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL).


Dr. Selvamurthy said the DRDO scientists were working on Agni-V which was a three-stage solid fuelled missile and it would have a payload of one to 1.5 tonne and could carry conventional nuclear warhead. “It will address our immediate threat perception and since India has declared and adopted a no-first strike policy, Agni-V will empower the country with the second strike capability,” Dr. Selvamurthy said.

He described Agni as an important missile delivery system. Agni V was a surface-to-surface missile and came very close to qualify as an ICBM. Commenting on Agni-III which was test-fired successfully thrice, Dr. Selvamurthy said it had met all parameters and the armed forces would decide on the actual induction programme.

Major concern

On the development of anti-satellite system and space security imperatives, the DRDO scientist said space security was a major concern but there was no separate anti-satellite programme as such though the DRDO had the core capability of designing and developing such a system if the need arose.

He said the DRDO already had the capacity to deliver such a system based on its earlier missile delivery programmes and all that was required was to modify and transfer this to the requisite format, he added.

Dr. Selvamurthy said the DRDO had visualised future battle and conflict scenario and was gearing to meet the new changes. He said a brain storming session was held recently on Battle Scenario 2020 and it emerged that high intensity conflicts like the World War I and II were passé as also the Middle Intensity Conflict. He said the country's challenge would be Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) as being witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir, operations against naxalites and counter terrorism operations and hence the DRDO was launching a major initiative to support the LIC in due course through appropriate weapon delivery systems.

While the high-intensity conflicts ended with the two World Wars, the middle intensity conflicts too were an unlikely scenario or had a low probability in view of economic and trade issues and hence future war scenario would be low intensify conflicts, he added.

The other countries were envious of India's high GDP growth bordering on 7.5 per cent to 8 per cent and hence the country had to brace for low intensity conflicts, said Dr. Selvamurthy.

On the nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) war scenario, Dr. Selvamurthy said the country was prepared to handle it and the Cabinet Committee recently sanctioned an additional Rs. 300 crore for developing contingency measures. He pointed out that the standard operating procedure (SOP) of command and control were in place and the guidelines for implementing the SOP were in place in addition to a quick response system.

The DRDO had developed capabilities and contributed to early detection, personal protection, collective protection, de-contamination and rescue operations. He said for aerial monitoring for nuclear devices as also chemical warheads had been developed and for battle field operations, it had developed a portable gas chromatography devise that could detect chemical vapour in the event of a chemical warfare.

Diagnostic kits

It had produced biological field antigen-based diagnostic kits apart from unmanned recce vehicle which would map contaminated zone and a remotely operated vehicle Daksh that had the capacity to diffuse any explosives.

Dr. Selvamurthy said the DRDO had developed a stand alone-stand off detection system, unmanned aerial and ground vehicle mounted with sensors to detect explosives and chemicals among others and welcomed private sector participation in the defence sector.