The Indian Express does its readers a disservice by using anything and everything in its campaign against the defence scientific complex
It regularly spews pragmatism (or the UPA government’s official line) on relations with Pakistan and China. It only expresses outrage when Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisations carry out yet another ghastly attack, before lapsing back to the ‘peace process must go on’ mantra. So it is not be surprising that amnesia and agenda should come together again in reaction to China’s anti-satellite missile test. The Express promptly jerked its knees.
That’s not all. The remaining three quarters of its editorial is not an indictment of the government that declined to approve the Indian air force’s plans to set up an aerospace command. Amazingly, it is a tirade against ‘clueless sections of the security establishment’ and the ‘ostrich-like science bureaucracy’ who only care to oppose military ties with the United States. The favourite whipping boy has been summoned yet again.
DRDO’s alleged failings and DAE’s reservations on the nuclear deal have nothing to do with the strategic threat from China. In fact, one reason why the scientific and security establishment has misgivings about the nuclear deal is because they fear that it will erode India’s deterrent vis-a-vis China. For instance, guess who wants to test the Agni-III intermediate range ballistic missile, and who is against testing? With a range of over 3000 km, guess who Agni-III aims at deterring?
Back to China’s ASAT test. Yes it signals the start of a new arms race in space. Yes, that arms race will profoundly affect India. Yes, overall deterrence will need to factor in the dimension of space. But it is sheer paranoia to speak of China’s missiles threatening India’s expanding civilian space assets. Besides, it was only China’s decision to test ASAT missiles that came as a surprise. It has long been known that China is developing such capabilities. But that may have easily slipped the notice of those who put too much faith in the official rhetoric coming out of New Delhi and Beijing.