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Nuclear Command Authority meets
Josy Joseph in New Delhi | September01, 2003 14:26 IST
Last Updated: September01, 2003 21:49 IST
The Political Council of the Nuclear Command Authority of India that met on Monday reviewed India's nuclear preparedness and series of intelligence inputs, including possibility of more unorthodox terrorist attacks and recent developments regarding Pakistan's nuclear preparedness.
It was the first meeting of the powerful Political Council -- chaired by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and consisting of Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Finance Minister Jaswant and National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra.
The council was set up on January 4 this year by the government.
According to officers in the know, the meeting was a 'routine review' of the nuclear preparedness and was meant to 'get the ball rolling' on the ground for India's nuclear chain of command.
The Command was briefed about a recent Pakistani decision to redeploy its nuclear assets and changes in overall preparedness.
On January 4, after reviewing country's nuclear preparedness the Cabinet Committee on Security constituted the Political Council and the Executive Council. "The Executive Council has been regularly meeting and there is constant interaction between the members of the Council," a military officer said.
The Executive Council, chaired by National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra, gives the inputs to the Political Council, which authorises a nuclear attack when it is necessary.
The Strategic Forces Command, operating out of a building in Delhi Cantonment, is presently studying the redeployment of the assets and new acquisitions. In fact there is widespread disappointment within the military circles about the delay in India getting on lease a couple of nuclear submarines and the TU-22 long-range bombers from Russia.
Russians, however, have tied down the two acquisitions to the purchase of Admiral Gorskhov, a second hand aircraft carrier, by the Indian Navy. Price negotiations are going on in the case of Gorshkov.
Military sources said the nuclear submarine would help the Indian Navy to train 'a new generation of officers'. "We have a generation still in service that have worked on INS Chakra", the nuclear submarine leased by Russia in mid-80s to India.
A nuclear submarine is the safest platform for launching a nuclear strike, given its ability to remain underwater for long duration and the difficulty for enemy to detect its presence. When INS Chakra was with Indian Navy in late 80s Indian Navy had even practiced firing of missiles from the submarine though it was kept a secret.
India's ambition to build a nuclear submarine is still to materialise as hundreds of scientists and navy men work in secrecy at different research centres around the country.
Navy is also hoping to acquire Tu-22 long-range bombers from Russia.
Today the political council was briefed about the progress in India's missile development and deployment, sources said. India is in the process of inducting Agni-I and Agni-II and is developing an Agni-III.
The military circles are generally happy about the progress being made in the development of Brahmos, a super sonic cruise missile being developed by India and Russia, which would eventually be made nuclear-capable.