‘US missile defence system will be a game changer’

Bruce K. Gagnon says it will impact geopolitics and economy

November 21, 2016 12:00 am | Updated December 02, 2016 04:51 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

This gives no option for retaliation for countries such as China or Russia, says Bruce K Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.By Arrangement

This gives no option for retaliation for countries such as China or Russia, says Bruce K Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.By Arrangement

The missile defence (MD) system that the United States of America is working on and at the same time deploying them across the globe, will be a game changer not only in the field of geopolitics but will also largely impact the economy of the world, said Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.

He was here to deliver a talk on ‘Peace on Earth and Space for Global Security and Human Development’ organised by GITAM School of Law, and spoke to The Hindu , on the impact of the MD programme of the US.

According to him, the U.S. is feverishly deploying the MD systems around the globe, essentially encircling Russia and China, and this could destabilise the Pacific and the south-Asian region.

Mr. Bruce who has been working on space issues for the last 33 years and today coordinates the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, said the MD system can not only knock out missiles of any class in the space after their launch but had the capability to strike at the launch pad itself. “This gives no option for retaliation for countries such as China or Russia, if the U.S. uses the first strike option,” he pointed out.

According to him, “the MD system is creating a new bloc game. We have seen what happened when NATO and the Eastern Bloc was in force. During that period the world was on the brink of war on a daily basis. Now with the U.S. allying with India, we see that another bloc war is on the verge, with U.S. and its old and new allies and Russia and China on the other. This will escalate a war like situation and peace will be broken for a longer period.” According to Mr Bruce, MD used to be illegal under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between Russia and the US.

Both sides knew that MD was a destabilising program that would give one side an advantage over the other. MD’s key job is to be the shield that is used to pick-off a nation’s nuclear retaliatory capability after the Pentagon’s first-strike sword lunges into the heart of the opponent’s nuclear forces.

And to keep it active, the very first thing President George W. Bush did after taking office in 2001 was to give Russia notice that the U.S. was pulling out of the ABM Treaty. Since then, the U.S. research, development, testing, and deployment of MD systems had been on steroids, he pointed out.

Mr. Bruce said Pentagon was deploying four basic MD systems today. One is the Ground-Based Mid-course MD interceptors buried deep underground inside the US.

The second is deployment of MD systems on Navy Aegis destroyers. These ship-based interceptors have the best testing success rates and are mobile and are being termed as the main weapon for the game changer. As of March 2016, there are 33 Aegis BMD capable ships in the US Navy (5 cruisers and 28 destroyers) and the US plans to have 43 such ships by 2019, and between 80 to 97 by 2043, and are being built in Maine, said Mr. Bruce.

The third is the mobile ground-based MD interceptors like the Patriot (PAC-3) and finally the most advanced one is the Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), which are satellite and radar controlled and have the capability to knock out incoming missiles in the terminal phase.

According to him, to prevent a World War III like scenario, regional players essentially India and organisations such as Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the UN should play a proactive role.

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