According to the Eurasia Review website on 29th, India recently officially confirmed the news of the first nuclear missile monitoring ship being commissioned in service, which makes India the fifth country equipped with this high-performance monitoring ship outside the circle of United States, Russia, China and France. According to the report, this will significantly enhance India’s ballistic missile defense capabilities, and may even “change the delicate strategic balance in the region at a critical juncture”.
The Indian missile monitoring ship was secretly commissioned back in October 2020, with its commissioning delayed due to the global pandemic of the New Corona virus, according to the report. The ship can detect the trajectory of ballistic missiles at greater distances and “arguably has an unlimited range of detection as it can sail freely in the ocean and change its monitoring position”. The ship has a displacement of 15,000 tons and is equipped with three “dome-shaped radomes” with sensors and other electronic warfare equipment. To ensure the energy supply of the huge tracking radar and sensors, the ship has 14 megawatts of power generation capacity. So far, however, the Indian Navy has kept most of the information about the ship’s performance secret. The outside world only knows that the ship is operated jointly by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization, the National Technical Research Organization and the Indian Navy.
But India’s acquisition of this advanced missile monitoring ship has caused concern in Pakistan. The report quotes Pakistani experts as saying that India’s acquisition of such an offensive and aggressive maritime capability would have serious implications for strategic stability in the region. The ballistic missile monitoring capability it brings may provide India with a greater sense of security in the Indian Ocean region, but the deterrent effect of Pakistan’s cruise and ballistic missiles is thereby greatly reduced, “which would destabilize the strategic stability between the two rival nuclear-armed states in South Asia and increase the possibility of Indian miscalculation”. In addition, Pakistan is concerned that the increasing capability of India’s missile defense system will increase the inclination of hardliners in the Indian leadership to carry out nuclear counter-attacks and surgical strikes. “India’s deployment of such nuclear missile monitoring ships will push both countries toward a pre-emptive strategy”.
This is not an unfounded concern. Given India’s increasingly modernized navy and efforts to strengthen its maritime ballistic missile defense system, Pakistan has begun to respond. According to the report, experts have suggested that Pakistani missile designers should increase the flight speed of ballistic missiles and further enhance their penetration and surprise capabilities against Indian missile defenses. Examples include the use of split-guided multiple warheads and the development of warheads with foil, jamming devices, decoys, heat shielding, low-infrared signatures, and maneuvering to change trajectories to improve missile effectiveness.