The NDA government had given the final go-ahead for the Army to induct and deploy an advanced version of the BrahMos missile for mountain warfare in Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month. PM Narendra Modi chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security, clearing the fourth BrahMos regiment. The regiment comes at a cost of 4,300 crore, constituting a mobile command post, 12×12 heavy-duty trucks mounted with five mobile autonomous launchers and around 100 missiles. The decision to deploy the regiment in Arunachal was taken with the aim of deterring China.
However, there has been a strong reaction from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). China has warned India against the deployment of the BrahMos, as it feels that this will render a negative influence on the stability of the Sino-Indian region and also be the reason for some unwanted competitiveness and confrontation between the two neighbouring countries. The PLA Daily, which is the mouthpiece of PLA said, “India deploying supersonic missiles on the border has exceeded its own needs for self-defence and poses a serious threat to China’s Tibet and Yunnan provinces.”
The BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile
The BrahMos is a two-stage missile, jointly developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and NPO Mashinostroeyenia (NPOM) of Russia. It has a solid propellant-booster engine, which — after giving the missile the supersonic speed — gets separated. The BrahMos missile has the following features:
- The BrahMos carries the conventional warhead weighing 200-300 Kg.
- It has a flight range of 290 Km at supersonic speed, which is 2.8 times the speed of sound, and thus, takes shorter flight time leading to quicker engagement and ensures lower dispersion of targets.
- There is no known weapon in the entire world which is fast enough to intercept the BrahMos.
- It operates on the “Fire and Forget Principle”. Once deployed, due to its seeker range it adopts varieties of flights to reach the target.
- The BrahMos possesses 9 times more kinetic energy than the sub-sonic cruise missiles. Because of this, it has more destructive power on its impact.
- It is universal for multiple platforms and has identical configuration for land, sea and sub-sea platforms.
The Threat felt by China
The PLA Daily has suggested that the deployment of the BrahMos may threaten some of the infrastructure. The commentary in the daily said, “The supersonic BrahMos cruise missile has excellent dive attack capabilities, and fits in the Sino-Indian border where it’s mostly mountain topography.” The following threats are being foreseen by an expert from the PLA Navy’s Engineering University:
- The BrahMos, with its low observable and penetrating capabilities, will pose a threat to the border areas of China.
- The PLA Daily mentioned the deployment of the Sukhoi Su-30MKIs and drones in border areas and added that the further deployment of the BrahMos would lead to counterbalancing the stability of the region as well as result in a situation of confrontation.
- China feels that India is trying to create a military advantage in the border.
- Speaking about the BrahMos, the daily mentioned that the ‘steep dive’ capabilities of the missile would increase the suddenness of the attacks even in the shadows of the mountains, and could cause massive destruction to time-sensitive targets like missile launchers and solid targets like command centres.
- However, the PLA Daily also mentioned that the short range of 290 Km of the missile would not be enough to penetrate the deep zones of China. Moreover, the heavy weight of the missile restricted the Sukhoi Su-30MKI to carry only one missile at a time.
The deployment of the BrahMos regiment at the Sino-Indian border will surely help the Indian Armed Forces in protecting and maintaining the Indian territory at the border. The Indian Army is the third largest in the entire world, with state-of-the-art weapons and facilities. But never in the history of the country has it been known to have initiated a war, or for that matter, cross-border attacks. China does not have any reason to fear the deployment of the BrahMos in Arunachal Pradesh, for it is going to be used only for the defence of the country.