India Plans Mass Deployment of BrahMos Missiles, Smerch MBRL Along Border With China
12:05 GMT 12.11.2021 (Updated: 10:40 GMT 19.07.2022)
BrahMos, a missile jointly produced by India and Russia, travels at 2.8 Mach, which is nearly three times the speed of sound. Last year, India deployed Su-30MKI aircraft equipped with Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles in Ladakh after relations with China declined over border infrastructure.
The Indian government has sought permission from the country's supreme court for strategically important projects in the Himalayas to deliver critical military equipment, including BrahMos, Smerch, and Pinaka, to the border with China.
Highlighting how important it is to bolster the infrastructure against the backdrop of China's recently passed Land Border Law
, the government said that the project cannot be halted over environmental concerns raised by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
"The Smerch rocket launcher has a turning radius on a curve of 35 metres, and the BrahMos missile carrier is 42 metres long. It is a stupendous task for the army to bring the equipment to the passes, to the Chinese border, the Line of Actual Control. We have to fight! And to fight, this is necessary," KK Venugopal, the attorney general, told the Supreme Court of India.
Venugopal said: "We are vulnerable and have to do the best we can."
The case is related to a Supreme Court order in September 2020 that stopped the government from widening the roads to 10 metres from the court-approved 5.5 metres in Uttarakhand state in the middle sector of the 3488km Line of Actual Control.
This is the region where close to 100 People's Liberation Army troops damaged the infrastructure
inside 5km of the Indian territory in August.
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said last month that China has increased infrastructure and built airstrips, helipads, roads and railway networks which indicates that they are going to be there permanently.
The army believes that despite having heavy transport aircraft such as the C130 Hercules, it still takes time for troop mobilisation.
India and China have reportedly deployed more than 50,000 new troops in the western sector of the LAC, where the two armies lost 24 soldiers - 20 of whom were Indian - during a clash in June last year.
This is the second winter troops have been stationed in sub-zero temperature and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the situation is volatile
At present more than 100 fighter jets, including BrahMos-equipped Su-30MKI, are positioned at forward bases that include Leh, which is close to the stand-off site in Ladakh.
The Indian Air Force emphasised in the past that the air version of the BrahMos missile provides an enviable capability "to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or on land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions".
Last month, in a rare display of its long-range offensive artillery capacity, the Indian Army showcased live-firing of the Smerch and Pinaka rocket launchers in the eastern sector of the LAC. The army now wants similar deployment in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh states.