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Hindustan Times reports missile moved near Pakistan Border

Prithvi missiles moved near border in Punjab. Missile is generally equipped with conventional warheads but also capable of mounting a nuclear warhead.
Hindustan Times reports missile moved near Pakistan Border

Prithvi missiles moved near border in Punjab
Vishal Thapar
(New Delhi, December 24)

Competitive military posturing between Indian and Pakistan assumed more belligerent proportions, with both sides mobilising ballistic missile groups.

Close on the heels of Pakistani media reports about "activation" of missiles directed at India from its Kharian base, reliable sources indicated that the Indian Army has moved its Prithvi Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM) batteries to strategic locations closer to the India-Pakistan border along Punjab.

The 150 km range Prithvi missile is handled by the 333 Missile Group, which is headquartered at Secunderabad. "Movement (of the missile group) is taking place," confirmed a senior official of the Ministry of Defence. While declining to "talk specifics", he reiterated that "India is in a state of high alert".

The source hastened to clarify that the Prithvi missile batteries had been "moved" but not "deployed".
India has based the Missile Group far away from the Indo-Pak border at Secunderabad as a confidence building measure. Because of its short range, any movement of this tactical battlefield missile, and that of its Hatf counterparts possessed by Pakistan, close to the border is a destabilising factor.

The deployment of this missile in Punjab effectively brings the Pakistani heartland - notably Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Faisalabad within striking range.

The Prithvi is generally equipped with conventional warheads but is also capable of mounting a nuclear warhead. Hence, distance of SRBMs from the border is also considered a nuclear risk reduction measure (NRRM).

The Prithvi is a single stage, liquid fuel, road mobile and inertially-guided missile. The 333 Missile Group is reportedly equipped with 15 launchers and about 75 missiles. It's weakness, however, is that it takes several hours to refuel the liquid propulsion missile before firing. The implications in terms of tactical response time are obvious. It's also the only Indian ballistic missile which is operational.

By contrast, Pakistan's operational missiles include the 300 km range Hatf II (Chinese M-11), the 600 km range Hatf III (Chinese M-9), the 750 km Shaheen I (Hatf-IV), the 1150-1500 km Ghauri I/ II (Hatf-V) and the 2500 km Shaheen II, giving it superiority in missile-based weapon delivery systems. But for the Ghauris, all are solid-fuelled propelled, requiring very little time to be fired.

While India does have the demonstrated technology for 1500 km (Agni I) and 2,500 km (Agni II) missiles, the only one it does have ready in its arsenal is the short-range Prithvi.


India justifies troop deployment
(New Delhi)

India has justified the reported deployment of troops along the international border and the Line of Control.
A spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said: "These are necessary precautionary measures in response to what we are seeing along the border. Any other country would have taken such steps".

Pakistan's steps such as cancelling the leave of its armed forces personnel and unleashing a veritable barrage of what External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh called "barrack room language", has been scoffed at as "unnecessary attempts to raise the temperature".

"Instead of creating an impression of impending danger, Pakistan should focus on the central point. We expect the arrest of the leaders of the terrorist groups responsible for the attack on Parliament House which is also desired by the international community," the spokesperson said.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell had telephoned Jaswant on Monday. He is learnt to have hinted on impending American action against the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.



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