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From Cyber Warfare To Anti-Satellite Weapons, India Has All Capabilities: Defence Research Chief

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 5/30/2018 5:03:00 PM

India’s defence research chief Dr S Christopher has explained the various stages of development of the country’s array of sophisticated weapons and where they stand currently. India already has anti-satellite capability. However, Dr Christopher says any ballistic missile that flies for a 1,000-plus km height can be designed in such a way that it becomes an anti-satellite weapon. “You do not necessarily need to specially use Agni-V (ballistic missile),” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview. The defence scientist says unmanned warfare is going to be the order of the day, with drone development taking centre stage.

Here’s the full transcript of the exclusive interview with Dr S Christopher, Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), New Delhi:

NDTV: What you see is the India Gate or the Indian War Memorial. It has names of thousands of soldiers etched on it. These are the soldiers who lost their lives in the World War. They probably would not have had the scientific and technological support like Indian soldiers have today. I have with me Dr S Christopher. He is the chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India, a mammoth organisation of 52 laboratories which makes everything from submarines to components for satellites and helps in life sciences. This is the 20th anniversary of the Pokhran nuclear tests and it also marks a very interesting thing, a new Bollywood film has come out which showcases the capability of the DRDO in a film called Parmanu, in which John Abraham is the lead actor. This particular film showcases the DRDO and the Pokhran tests of 1998. Dr Christopher is all-in-all a radar man. India’s future really rests on how well India is protected by its own technologies. Welcome to the programme, Dr Christopher.

NDTV: See, it’s been 20 years since we had those nuclear explosions, which means our nuclear bombs, atom and hydrogen bombs both are of 20-year vintage. Are they old? Do we need to do something, do we need to modernise?

Dr Christopher: This is one thing which probably I may not be in a position to give you.
NDTV: As a scientist, not so much as a person who makes policy but as a scientist, if today the prime minister were to ask you to come and say like he asked Dr Kalam, can you do in T minus 40 days? If he asks you, are we ready for it?

Dr Christopher: We are ready more than anything else. I wanted to tell you that technology-wise we are continuously growing, there is no doubt about it. You cannot stagnate at that position and the growth is continuously happening.

NDTV: So without testing, we are able to make more capable atom and hydrogen bombs?Dr Christopher: Everything in this R and D you cannot test. Like for instance, before sending them on a mission to the moon, we are not testing like somebody going at least partly every other day. There are lot of simulations, which is today possible to say what exactly will happen. Proof of the pudding is doing only sample example which we are in a position to do it. We are in a position to say strongly that we are capable of doing it.

NDTV: So if required, you can implement whatever happened in 1998 at a short notice?
Dr Christopher: Sure, it is possible.
NDTV: It is possible. And would it still be what T minus 40 days, or you can do it even shorter?
Dr Christopher: I do not want to comment on that.NDTV: But we have the wherewithal and we have the capability…
Dr Christopher: We have the capability. We have the capability and notwithstanding that it is not only the nuclear part of it. There are so many other paraphernalia. Those are also to be in-parallel improved. Communication links for that matter how to have a contact with a person who is in charge with respect to the headquarters or from the centre or whatever is this. All those communications are to be hardened and strengthened and every possible place we can improve. There are several developments continuously going on.
NDTV: So, as far as our strategic sector, both nuclear weapons go as the head of our DRDO you can safely say we are in good hands even 20 years later?
Dr Christopher: I am absolutely sure and I am honest to say that the growth is so tremendous. We are almost at par with many other countries.

NDTV: Among other things people want to know how soon would the ballistic missile Agni V be inducted because that is our key missile for delivery of such systems.
Dr Christopher: Very soon because as a matter of fact if everything goes well even in the near future we will conduct almost the final trial or the user trial.

NDTV: And then it can be inducted or is the user agency like always still involved with all these trials?
Dr Christopher: All these trials are totally with them. Without them we are not doing right. From the word go every part of it they are involved, so there is no uncertainty or ambiguity at all.

NDTV: So very soon Agni V will be inducted into the armed forces… as a weapon of peace?
Dr Christopher: Absolutely, all the strength is shown only to have peace. All these weaponries are to show strength and to gain peace.


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