BHUBANESWAR: The clarification of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on the inordinate delay in test firing of India’s most potent and longest range nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V has put a question mark on the competency of the premier arms research and development agency.
DRDO Chief Selvin Christopher has been quoted by a news agency that Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-V has been stuck due to a technical snag with its battery and not because of any other considerations. Christopher, however, did not respond to confirm the report. Other senior scientists involved in the Agni-V programme also refused to comment.
The fourth test of the home-grown missile, already tested successfully thrice, has been postponed twice. The test holds significance as it would pave way for the missile’s early induction in the armed forces.
On May 8, The Express had run a story titled ‘PM’s US visit trips Agni-V launch plans’ citing that the test was postponed due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit. Dismissing it, the DRDO Chief was quoted saying there is a problem with the battery and the issue can be resolved. This has, however, raised eyebrows as it appears that the organisation has failed to rectify the fault for the last several months.
Battery is required for on-board electronics which need power. Defence experts said the glitch could not be that big which will take so much time to be rectified.
As it pertains to the defence armaments of the nation, can the DRDO devote so much time for rectifying the glitch?
An eminent national security expert and professor at New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research (CPR) Bharat Karnad termed it a lame excuse by the DG of DRDO.
“The Agni-V test was originally slated during Autumn of 2015. Is it Christopher’s contention that the supposed battery ‘snag’ is so grievous in nature that ASL, Hyderabad has been unable to fix it for the last nine months?” he wondered.
Actually, Karnad observed that the clarification of the DRDO chief confirms the suspicion that Agni-V testing has been stalled for political reasons to avoid friction with the US.