It is a post-World War II curse that nations are forced to spend greater and greater amounts of their GDP on defence.
India has qualified to enter the futuristic world of missile shields and ballistic defence systems after Saturday’s successful interceptor missile test. “Star wars” may have seemed a Hollywood fantasy four decades ago, but Man has advanced so much technologically that the possibilities are now immense: nothing is too fanciful in today’s world. And yet, however capable India becomes, we should hope we don’t really need capabilities like automated tracking of enemy missiles in real time, with the capacity to intercept them and shoot them down 100 km above the Earth, except of course in self-defence.
When the 40-year-old Star Wars franchise could change hands at $4 billion, one can well imagine the real costs of actual technological advances to build a missile shield that can destroy a threatening missile both inside and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. India’s key missile defence project, conceptualised and shaped by DRDO, may have been behind schedule and budget, but the feeling that it’s capable of working with some accuracy should be reassuring, given the geopolitics of the region and a particularly hostile neighbour not above nuclear threats. It is a post-World War II curse that nations are forced to spend greater and greater amounts of their GDP on defence. Even the most peace-loving nations with no territorial ambitions have no alternative but to possess a very strong deterrence. India can thank dedicated technocrats capable of making this two-layered ballistic missile defence reality in two years’ time, which should be a fine protective mechanism for the purpose of discouraging a missile attack.