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By Bulbul Singh

13 Oct 11. India is planning to have access to the Ballistic Missile Defence [BMD] cover of North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO).
India wants to seek shelter under the NATO BMD systems as it faces
nuclear threat from both China and Pakistan As its indigenous anti-missile missile system, Prithvi Air Defence is at least two years from induction.

NATO has offered India to be partner of its BMD shield three months ago, but officials here have been debating whether to take the offer or not? Sources in the Indian defence ministry say, the defence planners are now favourably considering the NATO offer for BMD shield, and India’s defence research agency, Defence Research and Development Organization, (DRDO) has been asked to evaluate the technical consequences of the proposal.

The matter has been discussed at the Prime Minister level, as it has diplomatic and strategic consequences say sources.

India is also working on the homegrown anti ballistic missile system called Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) for the last five years and so far both the exo-atmospheric and endo-atmoshperic tests have been performed. The induction of the system is still around two years off. DRDO is also working on increasing the distanced of the kill missile to over 120 kilometers and have even planned a hypersonic anti ballistic missile system.

Simultaneously India and Israeli are also jointly developing a Barak extended range anti missile missile system with a range of over 70 kilometers, a deal for which was signed in 2009 for the project estimated to cost around $2.5bn.

Indian scientists are also undertaking an anti cruise missile system with the help of the Israelis though this system is expected to be inducted not earlier than 2022. The system will enable India to kill both incoming ballistic and cruise missiles.

Meantime India is also negotiating with Israel and the United States to buy the David Sling and Iron Dome anti missile systems which will be effective against short range missiles and cruise missiles.

The Indian government has even talked to Raytheon of United States to allow the sale of the David Sling to India from Rafael of Israel.

Some defence planners in the Indian defence ministry argue that India should not exclusively wait for the completion of these projects and actually go ahead and buy an active anti-missile missile system in view of the looming threat from both China and Pakistan. The threat perception from China has increased substantially in the last three years and New Delhi cannot afford to be complacent on its defences against incoming nuclear missiles.

China, meantime has also developed anti satellite missiles and India needs systems which can kill these missiles before they could hit their assets in the space.

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