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PAKISTAN'S MISSILE TECHNOLOGY
On April 6, 1998 Pakistan carried out a successful flight-test of a medium range surface ballistic missile. It is the fifth in the current Hatf series and has been named Ghauri. It has an optimum range of 1500 kilometers and can carry a payload of about 700 kg. The missile is in the research and development phase and is part of the Integrated Missile Research and Development Programme. The test confers on Pakistan a credible indigenous missile capability.
Hatf V (Ghauri) was fired from Malute, near the city of Jhelum, about 76 miles south of the Capital Islamabad at 7.25 a.m. It climbed to a height of 350 kilometers before taking the direction to its planned impact area in the desert of Balochistan where it hit the designated target at 7.33 a.m. after a flight of eight minutes. Hatf V (Ghauri) missile weight 16 tons and consists of 13 tons of fuel, a one ton warhead and the remaining weight is of the casing and equipment.
Pakistan started planning its missile programme in early 1987, on the explicit information gained that India was on the road to pursue its missile programmes, writes General Mirza Aslam Beg, a former chief of the Army Staff in his article Ghauri won't rock the region' (DAWN April 27, 1998) General Beg continues Its authenticity was checked and rechecked. General Zia ul Haq , who was the then president, in consultation with the concerned departments, took two crucial decisions. The first one was based on moral principles that Pakistan would not develop chemical weapons. The second one was to build missiles of short and medium range capabilities, to be equipped with proper guidance systems.
General Beg says that the name Hatf for the surface-to-surface missile was selected by the Research and Development (R & D) Committee of the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army, as it was the name of the lance of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) which was used in many ghazva , and had the unique distinction of never missing its target. Similarly the name Anza, a lance of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was selected for a similar consideration, for the shoulder-fired ground-to-air missile, which was also developed during the same period. later the anti-tank Baktarshikan missile was also produced.
The testing of Hatf V (Ghauri) missile is the result of the dedication, hard work and single minded devotion to a cause displayed by our scientists and engineers working on the research and development of missile technology. Initially Hatf I was developed with a range of 80 kilometers and a payload of 500 kgs. Efforts continued to improve its performance, resulting in Hatf II with an enhanced range of 250 kms and the same payload of 500 kgs. Both were free flight missiles with inertial guidance systems following a ballistic trajectory. Hatf II was produced in 1989 and displayed at the Pakistan Day parade of March 23, 1990 and 1991.
The testing of Hatf III in July last year was a major break-through in missile development in Pakistan. It has a range of 600 kms with a payload of 500 kgs and a proper terminal guidance system giving it an accuracy of 0.1 per cent, as the circular error probability ( CEP) at 600 kms, similar to the Indian Prithvi surface to surface ballistic missile at 250 kms. This meant that Hatf III was to be controlled by an on-board computer for accuracy and was not to follow a purely ballistic trajectory. The main features of Hatf III missile are its two-stage rocket ability for war-head separation, a terminal guidance system and five different types of warheads. The most difficult part of the missile was the its guidance system which was developed entirely by Pakistani engineers and scientists.
By successfully test-firing Hatf V (Ghauri) missile overland within Pakistan territory our engineers and scientists have amply demonstrated their own technical skills and accuracy of the missile. India on the other hand tests her missiles from the missile range at Chandipur-on-Sea on the Orissa coast, and these are fired into the Bay of Bengal. India successfully tested its intermediate range ballistic missile Agni' on May 22, 1989, after two failed attempts to test the system earlier in the year.
In a successful first launch of Hatf V (Ghauri) missile, which is capable of reaching targets 1500 kms away, Pakistani scientists and engineers have demonstrated their skill and mastery of the modern and up to date missile technology. It means our scientists and engineers have been able to overcome the problems presented by the first four major sub-systems of a medium-range ballistic missile. These are the rocket boosters, navigation and guidance system, missile flight control system and the re-entry vehicle. The fifth is of course the warhead. These sub-systems can be tested separately but it is important for success to integrate them and to flight-test the complete missile system as was done in the case of Hatf V (Ghauri) using a dummy warhead.
Gregory Koblentz, a junior fellow with the Nuclear Non-proliferation project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. in his article Theater Missile Defence and South Asia', A Volatile Mix', published in the Non-Proliferation Review, vol 4, No. 3 of 1997 writes According to the Pentagon, Pakistan's missile programmes are driven by a desire to augment limited offensive air capabilities against India, which holds a nearly 3.1 advantage in combat aircraft, and to field a more effective delivery system. Therefore, without a credible aerial delivery capability, Pakistan will have to rely mainly on ballistic missiles to overwhelm India's defences.
Foreign experts believe that India and Pakistan are fast developing ballistic missiles. As with other weapons programmes, Pakistani and Indian pursuit of ballistic missiles is largely driven by the perception that these missiles are necessary to counter their rival's capabilities. India's development of Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs) is also motivated by its desire to be recognized as a great power and strategic competitor with China, they feel.
India started its missile programme in 1983. The Pakistan-specific' short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Prithvi' was first tested in 1988 and after conducting about 15 tests to perfect it, the production of the missile was started in 1994. The most advanced long range Prithvi missile was test-fired by India in January 1996. With its longer range of about 150 miles the missile can strike most major cities of Pakistan five minutes after launch. A shorter range version of the missile, which can carry a 1000 kms warhead approximately 90 miles, was already in limited production. Both versions are highly mobile, and although India insists that all Prithvis will be tipped by conventional explosives, both are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Washington was so concerned that the Prithvi missile launch would provoke a strong Pakistani response that Deputy U.S. National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger was dispatched to Islamabad in February 1996 to counsel restraint.
The arrival of the new Prithvi, said the U.S. News & World Report of February 12, 1996, will qualitatively change the nature of the strategic balance ( between India and Pakistan), because ballistic missiles reach targets faster than other weapons and are difficult to defend against. The report goes on to say, Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao (at the time) has been careful not to openly acknowledge Prithvi production or deployment. But sources in the Indian Defence Ministry say the first short-range missiles already have been handed over to the Army, which has set up a special unit called the 33rd Missile Group in the southern city of Secunderabad. The report concludes by saying Pakistan, a narrow country that is vulnerable even to short-range missiles, has struggled to keep pace.
On May 27, 1997, without any provocation India sent a Russian made MIG-25R military reconnaissance aircraft deep into Pakistan airspace. This was followed a week later by the move forward to the Pakistan border of India's ground-to-ground ballistic missile Prithvi', as reported by U.S. officials in Washington on June 4, 1997, who disclosed that India's military forces recently moved a handful of medium-range ballistic to a prospective launch site near the Pakistani border. U.S. intelligence have concluded that fewer than a dozen of them are now located near the city of Jullundur in the state of East Punjab in north west India.
We know that the missiles have been moved, and in the wrong direction said one US official who is familiar with intelligence reports on the matter. This is going to prompt a bad reaction-even an overreaction in Pakistan, said another official. The US officials expressed uncertainty why the missiles were moved to that site at a time when senior Indian and Pakistani political officials have been moving toward an improved dialogue and a possible reduction of political tension. The Washington Post also reported in its issue of June 3, 1997, deployment of the Indian Ballistic Missiles at a prospective launch site near Pakistan's border.
As a consequence the Pakistan Foreign Office on June 3, 1997 expressed serious concern at the deployment of medium-range ballistic missile, Prithvi, by India near Pakistan's borders and said it reserved the right to take measures for its security. The statement said The deployment of Prithvi missiles entails a qualitative change in the security environment in South Asia and could trigger a dangerous ballistic arms race in the region.
The Pakistan Foreign Minister Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan in a letter to the US Secretary of State Ms. Madeline Albright said that the deployment of Prithvi missiles by India near Pakistan border has created a dangerous security environment combined with a potential of unleashing a missile race in South Asia. He said India appears to have been encouraged by the discriminatory American Legislation against Pakistan that has resulted in a serious military imbalance in the region. The letter continued by saying that the Indian missile threat leaves us no choice but to take appropriate measures.
India denied that any missiles had been deployed near the Pakistan border. The Indian Prime Minister at the time Mr. I.K. Gujral while talking to the representative of the weekly India Abroad' in Washington on July 14, 1997 said that India had undertaken missile manufacturing for a long time and had not made a secret of it. India's present storage capacities have been filled. Since it could not spend money building more storage capacities, the Jullundur capacity was used for Prithvi. This statement is in complete variance with the US disclosure based on the intelligence estimates that a handful of medium-range ballistic missiles had been moved to their prospective launch sites near the Pakistani border. They have in fact been issued to the No. 60 Artillery Regiment located in the area for some time.
Violation of Pakistan's air space and the deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles by India near the Pakistan border created some misgivings in the official and political circles in the country and some alarm in the public's mind. The test-firing of Haft III rocket by Pakistan in July 1997 seems to have been a natural consequence for a small country safeguarding its security interests in the absence of any outside support.
In the meantime India had decided to acquire the Russian made S-300V air defence and anti-ballistic missile system. This is similar to the US patriot missile and is capable of targeting incoming enemy aircraft and ballistic missiles. The agreement was signed by India's former Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav during his visit to Russia on July 14, 1997, heading a high-powered defence delegation consisting of the Secretary of Defence and the Vice-Chiefs of the three defence services.
The daily Telegraph of London had reported that the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) had been instructed by the government of India to carry out detailed evaluation of the advanced technologies of the Russian S 300V anti-ballistic missile in consultation with the Army and Air Force for possible incorporation in the later version of the Indian Akash' surface-to-surface missile to provide it anti-ballistic missile capability.
India started her ambitious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in July 1983 with an original cost of production at Rs. 3,380 million which has since been revised to Rs. 7840 million. The original plan was to design and develop Prithvi (Earth) Medium range surface-to-surface ballistic missile; Trishul (Trident) anti-ship missile; Akash (Sky) surface-to-surface air missile; Nag (Cobra) anti-tank missile and Agni ( Fire) an Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile (IRBM). However later Surya and Sagarika have been added to the IGMPD. The Surya is an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of 12,000 to 20,000 km, while Sagarika has range of 300 km and is a submarine launched ballistic missile. The Navy also wants a redesigned Prithvi ballistic missile for its use.
The hectic missile activity going on in India is a cause of great concern for her small neighbours. It is therefore the duty of every government to protect the country from foreign aggression and internal subversion. It was therefore appropriate and timely for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to declare, while addressing the National Defence College in Islamabad on April 6, 1998, his resolve to make Pakistan a strong, stable, prosperous and democratic country. Defence of Pakistan was being given priority as he considered a strong defence essential for economic development of the country.
The new BJP-led government in India has aggravated to a large extent Pakistan's defence problems owing to additional provocation and threats emanating from India. This is evident from its election promises and the action taken and contemplated on assuming power. Mr. Savita Pande, a research fellow at India's Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis writing in The Pioneer' of New Delhi in its issue of February 17, 1998 says that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its 31- page manifesto has promised to re-evaluate the country's nuclear policy and exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons. It has also declared its intent to expedite the development of the Agni series of ballistic missiles (India's intermediate range missile with a range of 2,500 kms). The author goes on to say that the party's (BJP) nuclear agenda can no longer be dismissed as mere pre-poll propaganda. As BJP's attaining power in India will place it in a position to call the shots in nuclear and strategic issues. The author concludes with the following words. By mentioning the completion of the Agni programme in the same breath as the induction of nuclear weapons, the BJP has made its posture more credible both inside and globally. How soon will the BJP government carry out its election promises is the deadly question which is receiving the urgent attention of India's small neighbours. The situation is also being watched by the Western government who have interest in South Asia and the region around it.
Russia is helping India to build a Sea-launched ballistic missile system that can carry a nuclear warhead and strike deep into Pakistan, the New York Times' (NYT) reported on April 27, 1998. In an exclusive report the Times' said India was getting Russian assistance since last three years. The newspaper quoting an official of the US administration said, despite assurances from Russia that its scientists were not contributing restricted technology to India's missile programme, the assistance had continued. US Vice President Al Gore and other senior administration officials had appealed to Russia to halt the support, but Russia paid little attention to it. India, the NYT noted, has long had military ties to Russia, it has been trying for years to develop a series of more powerful missiles. Although not tested , the sea-launched missile, the Sagarika, whose name means Oceanic in Hindi, is said to have a range of nearly 200 miles and is meant to be launched from submerged submarines.
The NYT said this would be a technological breakthrough for India in its arms race with Pakistan. American intelligence officials regard the simmering rivalry one of the most dangerous flash points for conventional or even nuclear war. Clearly this (Russian) cooperation with India raises questions said a senior US administration official, who, as with others, insisted on anonymity, because of political sensitivities and to protect American intelligence sources. Another officials who tracked the reports said the Russian help to India had included significant engineering services as well as parts and equipment necessary to build and launch the missile, said the Times.
It should be appreciated that India is making an all out effort to develop a large-scale missile industry capable of browbeating and dominating South Asia and the region around it. Missile technology was freely transferred from Western sources and is now being done by the Russian. India's acquisition of missiles and other high-profile defence equipment is well beyond her legitimate defence requirements. It poses a valid and active threat to the independence of her small neighbours. It is with this background that the successful test-firing of Pakistan's Hatf V (Ghauri) missile had been welcomed with some enthusiasm by the entire nation. The development of missile technology will give strength to the Prime Minister's resolve to make Pakistan militarily strong and giving priority to defence, as it contributes enormously to the well being of the country and its economic development. It must be remembered that weakness has over the ages invited aggression whereas adequate strength has deterred it.
The significance of Pakistan's missile technology resulting in the test-firing of Hatf V (Ghauri) and the impact it is likely to have on regional, particularly South Asian defence capabilities and the balance it will create has been discussed in great details in official circles and the press of both India and Pakistan. The upshot is, that at present India's Pakistan-specific Prithvi missile deployed on our borders covers most of the important towns, airfields and communication centres in Pakistan.
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