IndiaToday.in New Delhi, August 7, 2014
Around 10 months ago, India had showcased its newly developed Pragati tactical surface-to-surface missile at the International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition ADEX-2013 in South Korea.
But in a major security lapse, the missile didn’t make its journey back home and lay unguarded, vulnerable and dangerously exposed for an entire month at a South Korean port.
The missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has a range of 60-170 km.
India Today has learnt that the Modi government has sounded the code red and decided to investigate the entire matter. The government wants to revisit a never before security scare for India’s missile programme.
Pragati is a highly potent and accurate short-range, battlefield tactical missile system capable of neutralising identified ground targets and providing an effective counter-force weapon system.
It has all weather day and night operational launch capability. It is a counter to Pakistan’s NASR tactical nuclear missile and crucial in maintaining India’s strategic edge over an unpredictable neighbour.
There is a series of violations in the journey of Pragati missile to South Korea.
The first violation is that the Pragati missile sent to South Korea for the exhibition wasn’t a dummy missile but an actual prototype that was to be used for a live firing.
Second, the logistical handling of the missile in South Korea was outsourced to a local agent of Chinese-origin.
Third, the prototype missile missed its ship back to India, stranding it unguarded and vulnerable at the Incheon port for an entire month. Finally, it lumbered back to India as unprotected commercial cargo without the safeguards it needed as sensitive military hardware.
The Pragati missile has quick reaction from command to launch in ripple firing mode of less than five seconds from same launcher. It is capable of carrying various types of conventional warhead of approximately 200 Kg.
The missile system has capability of deployment in stand-alone mode or centralised mode. With its effective and intelligent end trajectory maneuvreing, Pragati defeats detection by any weapon locating radar.
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