BrahMos: A failure of Indian Command and Control System

Nadir Ali

ON 09 March, after sunset, a cruise missile was launched from somewhere in the “Western India”.

According to the Pakistan Intelligence, at 19:13, the missile was found near the “Sirsa” in India, and then flew to the southwest at a high altitude, and then gradually turned right south of the “Suratgarh” in India, towards Pakistan.

It then flew more than 100 kilometres into Pakistani territory before crashing harmlessly in the Pakistani town of Mian Channu.

It took less than seven minutes to complete its journey. However, there is minimal open source material accessible on the decision-making process of India’s nuclear command and control.

This missile was not a nuclear missile but a strategic missile – any non-nuclear strategic missile should likewise be controlled by the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).

One must need to understand the internal beaurocratic dynamics within India, where the military is completely excluded from decision-making in the NCA.

The delivery systems are largely under the control of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), while the warheads are under the control of the Department of Atomic Energy.

Therefore, concerning the strategic problem, India has always claimed that all missiles will be regulated or authorised by political authority.

In this case, one would presume that the political leadership was notified a day later because it took two days for India to openly recognise that a missile was fired.

Despite the fact that whatever happened on the base has been covered up by the Indian military, which is why no explanation has been provided.

Otherwise, it might have been quickly reported that this incidence had occurred, and the political leadership could have accepted responsibility.

Realistically, “Peace time” and “War time” deployments are not the same, and neither India nor Pakistan are on high alert.

As a result, it is almost difficult for any radar operator to detect, identify and obtain approval to conduct what is necessary.

Pakistan has rightfully asked a formal transparent investigation in which all facts are verified and disclosed.

Pakistan is the primary country affected by such incidents; no other country may be affected by these occurrences.

There are a variety of options here, including India testing Pakistan’s deterrence capacity. India might have been looking for ways to uncover gaps in Pakistan’s military and nuclear policy.

India has been attempting to strengthen its first strike capacity; it is, in general, working toward complete counter-strategies with a greater emphasis on first-strike-capabilities, so that this might be part of a bigger plan that India has.

India has already crossed the threshold on a number of aspects that are part of the strategic restricted regime, such as the deployment of an anti-ballistic-missile-system (ABM), as well as the development and deployment of a submarine-launched-ballistic-missile (SLBM).

Long-range-missiles and the Intercontinental-ballistic-missile-system (ICBM) are both focusing on the development of numerous independently charged re-entry vehicles.

In this environment, realistic dialogue between India and Pakistan to ensure strategic stability is impossible.

Indian military modernization and Indian military escalation; conventional and strategic – under these circumstances, Indians are unlikely or unwilling to discuss restrictions with Pakistan.

Indians believe they are on a different level, and as a result, they are unwilling to connect with Pakistan.

Although, Pakistan can continue to offer the option of adopting bilateral actions to prevent future incidents.

—The writer is associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.

(Courtesy Pakistan Observer)