DRDO policy gaffes attract international flak - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 21 June 2010

DRDO policy gaffes attract international flak

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 22nd June 10

New Delhi’s moral and ethical protestations that India’s space programme is entirely peaceful are facing embarrassing questioning after the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) --- apparently oblivious of the policy implications of its statements ---- publicly announced a roadmap for its ambitious military space programme.

Last month, the DRDO published its “Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap” or TPCR, which declared that the “development of ASAT (anti-satellite weaponry) for electronic or physical destruction of satellites in both LEO (low earth orbit) and Geo-synchronous orbit” can be expected to be completed by 2015.

Now, in a web article demanding that the US should rein in India’s “defiant military space programme”, Matthew Hoey of the Military Space Transparency Project (MSTP) --- a US-based NGO that tracks the weaponization of space --- has pointed out that the DRDO’s statement “blatantly contradicts statements by Indian political leaders that deny any intent by their nation to pursue space weapons”.

The MSTP report asks why India is being allowed to adopt double standards. In January 2007, after China had launched a kinetic kill vehicle (KKV) to smash into its own aging Fengyun (FY-1C) satellite, then-foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had protested, “the security and safety of assets in outer space is of crucial importance for global economic and social development. We call upon all States to redouble efforts to strengthen the international legal regime for the peaceful use of outer space.”

India’s prime minister had criticised China’s test as forthrightly. The MSTP report points out that, at a joint press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin on 27th Jan 2007, Dr Manmohan Singh had declared, “Our position is similar in that we are not in favour of the weaponization of outer space.”

Matthew Hoey scathingly describes this contradiction: “While top Indian military officials (i.e. DRDO) set ambitious milestones for destructive military space systems, Indian political leaders make contradictory claims about the nation’s peaceful intentions for outer space”.

This is not the first time that the DRDO has openly repudiated New Delhi’s official line. Hoey points to a report entitled “Military Dimensions in the Future of the Indian Presence in Space”, published in 2000 by Dr V Siddhartha, an officer on the personal staff of the DRDO chief, which indicated that India could deploy a directed energy weapon in space by 2010, and also a system called the KALI (kinetic attack loitering interceptor).

Like so many DRDO programmes, the KALI’s development time frame has turned out to be wildly optimistic. But the MSTP report alleges that the Siddhartha’s report “is testament to, at the very least, a clear intention within the Indian military of deploying not only a space-based laser but also an ASAT system.”

Equating the DRDO’s defiance of international norms with that of North Korea and Iran, Hoey’s article declares that the setting of “target dates for the development of anti-satellite systems by any nation should be considered shocking particularly given the scrutiny that was paid to nations such as China and the US when they each demonstrated a direct-ascent ability to strike satellites in space.”

The Outer Space Treaty, which entered into force on October 10, 1967 and has been ratified by about a hundred countries, including India, bans the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space. The Space Preservation Treaty, which seeks to extend this ban to all weapons, has found no support from any major country. Only the city of Berkeley, California, has signed this treaty, and a tiny portion of the University of California has been declared a “space-based weapons-free zone”.

An ASAT treaty --- which would ban the development of ground-based weapons that could shoot down satellites in space --- is even more improbable. Technologically capable countries, including India, pay lip service to the peaceful use of outer space, while going ahead with developing ASAT weapons. But such activities are masked, not flaunted, as the DRDO has done. In 2002, the provocatively named US Space Command was quietly merged with the US Strategic Command.


  1. Equating the DRDO’s defiance of international norms with that of North Korea and Iran, Hoey’s article declares that the setting of “target dates for the development of anti-satellite systems by any nation should be considered shocking particularly given the scrutiny that was paid to nations such as China and the US when they each demonstrated a direct-ascent ability to strike satellites in space.”

    With regard to Matthew Hoey's report-

    If India's following in the footsteps of US and China, how does it end up getting lumped with North Korea and Iran. Also, the DRDO's plans do not involve deployment of WMDs in space, therefore do not flout any international norms. ASATs weapons are NOT space based.

    With regard to your article Ajai sir - I think you've overstating the importance of Hoey's report. Firstly its for a rather obscure NGO and secondly its got a very obvious peace-nik agenda behind it.

  2. What should India do, when one of its neighbors has satellite kill capability and in future,if it directed against Indian space assets?

  3. lol. Why should India restrain itself and stand nude when U.S and China can have ASAT and can weaponize space. Indian need to make progress to ensure that the Indian interests are protected in Space. It's high time that we speed up the space weaponization until someone comes in and make out a treaty. We cannot suffer again like we suffered in Nuclear area.

  4. Lol. India's peaceful words has no place in the world. Otherwise the Chinese must have not tested the ASAT. Similarly the U.S which projects itself as some kind of Moral high nation must not have tested their ASAT heeding India's words. Now as the others have not heeded India's words and went for weaponisation of Space, it's time for India to go ahead and test it without wasting time. We cannot lose out this time around. March forward with determination rather than stand nude for ever with high morality. Morality is not just for India, if the U.S and China is ready to obey it then it's o.k which is not the case with U.S and China. India must do all things necessary to ensure that we are a space power in all aspects rather than suffer at a later day. God speed to the various programmes.

  5. Ajai, you are mistaken, India's stand is Non-weaponisation of space, Compete nuclear disarmament etc but these words are not accepted by the U.S. So there is no point in we not having nuclear weapons and space weapons. It must apply to all.

  6. That article is a clear propoganda. If he wants to equate India with North Korea and Iran, I do feel that China and U.S fits the list more appropriately with their ASAT tests. So they have no right to tell Indians what India must do. India will develop ASAT. It's not the right of U.S and China only.

  7. When China and U.S acquire the capability to shoot down Indian satellites, do you expect India to stay unprotected. India will also ensure that there is proper deterrence with India's own ASAT weapons.

  8. Harami U.S dictates terms while doing everything illegal from transferring ICBM's to U.K and cruise missiles to U.K and Spain. Here there is no application of MTCR etc. It applies to other countries onlee. Shame shame. Shame on the U.S. Now who is the law breakers or the ones who make laws that restrict others from doing things that the U.S can only do in violation of the same principles of the treaty.

  9. "Walk silently but carry a big stick" is a Chinese saying. Indians believe in the opposite "Talk loudly but carry a small stick".

  10. While author is right when he quotes two different Indians saying opposite thing but he misses one thing which is difference in dates.

    Indian leaders said or criticized ASAT far back in time. Since then lot of time have passed and nothing happened in order to stop or ban these type of development. Against what should have happened world witnessed more development in this field. A lot of time have passed even after latest development and even smallest step against it is still due.

    I will like to ask author. In this environment what India should do? Should she wait forever and see her space assets becoming sitting ducks to Chinese ASAT?

    Writer should remember one thing that this action by DRDO is reactionary not hostile. Timing of this decision indicates much about hypocritical nature of world and less about duel standards adopted by Indian.

    When our enemy have such weapon and world is doing nothing for disarmament then logically India should also have such weapons(not for first strike but as a deterrent).

  11. Aww, Shook Law. Since when do we start caring about these kind of wonks. This is some obscure Anti Space weapons Ayatollah sitting in some came, armed with a laptop and an internet connection googling around for information. Obviously, he can google in English only I assume. Maybe the Indians can do one of two things. 1) Not publish like the Chinese (so you dont know and hence no problem) or 2) Publish in Malayalam or Assamese or someother Indian language which foreigners cannot easily google for!.

  12. So ...
    As long as people have military desires in space, a nation must defend itself. There are how ever limits as to how far the definition of defense can be bent. as a nation we can no longer be blissfully ignorant of the threat posed by these weapons to our strategic and economic interests. we have displayed time and again that we have no nascent territorial desire beyond reclaiming that which was previously ours (and by that i mean accorded to us by treaty and partition.) and have never initiated any aggressive action.
    In my honest opinion not that it counts for much is that asat weapons are a reality we have to live with like nuclear weapons. the sooner we all stop being hypocrites and actually learn to be responsible for the technology we all develop the better the world will be, until then the only thing that will save the world is a precarious balancing act at the edge of a precipice of our own creation.

  13. Crikey! Boggles the mind. Gaffes of this magnitude should automatically result in heads rolling. The top two or three people at DRDO should submit their resignations immediately. This is stupidly criminal (or is it criminally stupid?).

  14. how influential is Mr. Mathew Hoey and his NGO ?

    anyway, yes DRDO needs to be more careful. indians have the bad habit of talking too much.

  15. I wouldn't worry too much if I were Mathew Hoey. DRDO probably wouldnt be able to get anything into space much before 2100.

  16. The problem with India is that it is always keen to show its progress in such fields without adequate tests and scientefic approvals and declare the results of its research and development Can it not keep up its secrets till it is dam sure and show its defence capability at the right time ?

  17. This shows that the U.S has plenty of think tanks which turn a blind eye to their own proliferation of space weapons while sermonising others not to follow suit.There seems to be a hidden agenda of global dominance here.DRDO should aggressively develop counter to chinese space threats of the future. SHAZ

  18. Ajai, why do you even give this any publicity? Who is this Mr. Hoey? No country claiming to be a superpower would mind every Tom, Dick and Harry throwing criticisms at it.

    The DRDO states scientific intent, not political intent. The latter comes from the GoI. All that the DRDO is saying is that their intent is to acquire a technology, not to deploy it. Mr. Hoey does not understand how India works, he is terribly confused. Someone please educate him.

  19. If M.Hooey's article is the basis for USA's policy making, than it makes Mr.Hooey a very important commentator. Otherwise, it would be prudent to pursue our National Security Goals as envisioned by our security professionals, and not some foreign commentator or some Politician. I read Mr.Hooey's article, and find it very interesting as to the historical construction he has stitched together based purely on news reports and other media reports he has so carefully referenced in his article. Overall a very excellent and thorough documentation work for his article, but does it represent a complete picture of India's National Security challenges. I guess not.

  20. Why should we start toeing the line of GOTUS or other disarmament hawks of dubious intent and credentials?
    Why even give them any room in the first place for them to maneuver and nicely plant their idea of "follow the leader(USA)" within the Indian psyche?
    We should not back down under any circumstances. We have paid a price by putting the interests of other sundry global and local super powers ahead of ours and accomodated every jihadi, commie, capitalist sw*** in the name of Ahimsa and Atithi devo bhava. They nudge-nudge and we "kindly" adjust. Enough is enough. Our interests are primary. Period.

  21. Bashing DRDO and other govt scientific orgs are easy way getting PR now!!! I think we Indians should abolish all kinds of domestic R&D and depend on our 'journalists' to supply cutting edge systems to the forces.

  22. Our media is very quick to cry on what a third class US citizen says. Sigh!

  23. matthew hoey is a hack and his article got shredded to pieces when he posted it on bharat-rakshak.

    even his first point is a glaring contradiction, ability to attack satellites DOES NOT fall under weaponisation of space. it is sad that someone like you are giving space to an american interest group more correctly termed NPA or non-proliferation ayatollah, a class of people who train all their guns on India on nuclear issues but don't spend as much as a word on china and pakistan's nuclear mart.

    sad to see you of all people fall for the cheap trick. what DRDO said is entirely within our declared stand and hoey's opinion piece is just yet another hatchet job.

    go ahead and read this page if you are interested.
    onwards and this page

  24. Dear Ajai,

    Pay no attention to Matthew Hoey. He is an India-baiter/hater, who sometimes pretends to help India. He wrote a couple of nonsensical posts on Bharat Rakshak forum (under the name of Matthew_H) and got his ass handed to him.

    He has posted a link to your article today on BRF. LOL.

    Please dont give guys like him oxygen. The best way to deal with him is to ignore him.

    Prem Kumar

  25. continuing, there is absolutely no gaffe by DRDO on this and neither is one single report an example of 'international flak'.

    you are doing your credibility no good by associating with an anti-India vulture whose only interest is to stifle India's technological development.

    lastly, do you think DRDO went to town without GOI's permission ?
    please go back and read the statement again, it says we will develop the capability but not conduct an actual physical test.

    in such a situation, public statements by scientists are absolutely essential to maintain a deterrence in this field vis-a-vis china, but of course matthew hoey doesn't give a damn if china attacks India satellites
    that is also the reason why the americans did a high-profile ASAT test. we are doing something much less.
    unfortunately for him, GOI and DRDO scientists do and we, the common Indians support them.

    ajai, you really need to do some background research on these people. why give a lift to a paid hack like hoey ? if you pay him enough he will write a 'story' on zambia's space weapons tomorrow.

  26. Anonymous said...

    Crikey! Boggles the mind. Gaffes of this magnitude should automatically result in heads rolling. The top two or three people at DRDO should submit their resignations immediately. This is stupidly criminal (or is it criminally stupid?).

    it is you sir who is incurably stupid, better keep your head where the sun doesn't shine, it might not survive open air.

  27. Why are you giving importance to nobodies like Mathew Hoey? And why are you giving so much prominence to what he says.

    Regardless of the contradiction, the government will do what is necessary to protect our space assets. We didn't start the race, and we are not going to cower down. And to countries that matter, with our without DRDO's policy paper, they will know that India won't sit quiet. Even senior IAF officers have talked about protecting our space assets and making use of space to further our strategic goals.

    I thought you were a responsible journalist, but why do you have to give prominence to people like mathew who don't dare to raise their voice against US or China but concentrate on soft targets like India? Is it also because our journalists are more open to persuasion to further their agenda ??

  28. I have seen this Matthew Hoey guy's, or whatever his name is, report. He made couple of posts in Bharat Rakshak forum too giving links to his article. He is just involved in propaganda. He is some Research Assistant somewhere and obviously trying to make a profile for himself, so indulging in propaganda. Not a worth article. When his article is dissected and asked critical questions, he just disappeared.

  29. Hey Mathew,

    From your comment on DRDO's, I am strongly of the view, your being from US does not makes you saint. I doubt to have any used you rational mind or may be you have lost your mind while making comments on Indian weapons program.

    Additionally, I doubt you have any understanding of dynamic military situation in south Asia or our lovely neighbor, China. Here are some scenario which I doubt you and master would acknowledge.

    You and your masters are far far away from terrorist manufacturing machine, may be you and your govt. have helped to stage the drama of terrorism on the face of planet to have a share of 3 trillion worth or minerals in Afghanistan.

    A recent report in media shows that your master has understanding with Taliban to allow safe passage of US convey's. However, your master has turned blind eyes to the terror activities supported by China and Pakistan.

    Most in the world are of the opinion that the drama, terrorism, is staged by your master to scuttle development in India as western word or developed countrties cannot see rise of India.

    I have question to you, when out network of satellite's and other assets are destroyed by your lovely brother in arms, Pakistan and China, what should we, India, do. stand naked and beg the western world.

    I doubt any human would live with out dignity. Oh I forgot the western world and no other country should have a dignity.

    There is a proverb, which you should read again and again, when you point a finger at others, the rest points at you.

    I doubt you have a brain to speak about yourself. I reiterate, understand the dynamics of military situation in and around.

    The big question is, Why do you have weapons, nuclear, satellite kill weapons, etc. that are not needed. Have a look in your own weapons system before you dare to questions others.

  30. Ajai,

    What big words you use!? Such impressions you create with those words!
    "International flak" & "US based NGO" all for one little paid moron who is apparently running a one man show on a website: http://www.spacetransparency.org

    You know he has to create a noise, beat his little tin drum and blow his tin trumpet so people will pay him some attention and more importantly give him some more money for new research.
    He's angling to be an "India specialist". God, he's even got a separate tab (how much did that cost in "research" dollars?) grandoisely titled "Project India". Oh! my God! he has designs on India. Press the panic button, send someone over to reassure the US!!! Shut down DRDO or something! At least fire someone...

    He collects articles that slap India around too! That really takes the cake. Look! He's got that s*** Brabara Crosett's article blasting India for not completely kowtowing to the US. The Indians better be scared now.

    Ajai, Where is your sense of perspective, I ask you? Are you so enamoured of the US that you need to publicize anything put out by the legions of paid hacks that the US has at its disposal? The Americans are masters at using third party "analysts" to put out "analyses" that are designed to soften the target, in this case India. No need to make their task easier.

  31. I think the large number of reactions to this article, and the general tone of these reactions --- viz, why are we publicising something that a mere one-analyst think-tank points out --- says a great deal about why India has a long way to go before becoming a super-power.

    What it says about attitudes is two-fold:

    (a) Don't reply to the argument. Instead, just discredit the person who makes the argument.

    (b) Treat every one of your own blemishes --- such as this one, where one arm of government is talking at cross purposes with national policy --- not as something to be corrected, but as an international conspiracy to discredit India.

    What a sad-assed, ignorant bunch of Xenophobes so many of you are!

    Firstly, go and read up on the multitude of statements that Indian leaders have put out making it clear that space is the common heritage of mankind and that it should not become a battleground. Shooting down satellites, in my humble opinion, makes it a battleground.

    So the answer is not to beat your little tin drums about how the world is out to get you. It is to continue developing the capabilities that every other major nation is doing... viz the capability to take war to space. And, at the same time, educate the scientists and policymakers, whose every word is noted and analysed, not to make strategically ignorant statements in public forums.

    Got it?

  32. We're not xenophobes Ajai... you're the one who is showing a pre-colonial mindset. We are the new India, and you the old. And Mr. Hoey belongs to the 18th century! In any case, not to criticize, consider this feedback.

  33. Ajai, your justification for referring to Matthew Hoey doesn't hold water. The readers' issue is not so much of xenophobia but as to why you chose to give credence to a gas bag and a prejudiced 'analyst' who cooks up some anti India tirade. Based on your logic, next you might start quoting that famous 'strategist' next door, Zaid Hamid, to justify some other 'discrepancy'!

    I also fail to understand as to how DRDO could speak out to the press on such sensitive issue without Govt. approval, as is the prescribed procedure. Maybe, the Govt. sends these conflicting signals deliberately to take the public into confidence on national security at the same time giving the necessary sound bites at international fora by politicians, just for the heck of it. In fact, I support this dual stance.

  34. Here is how India should deal with this situation. Ignore that idiot what-his-name.. that Matthew Hoey kid. And ignore the U.S. "demands" and basically everything the Uncle Sam has to say on this particular topic; problem solved!

    This is what a mature nation would do.

  35. Dear Mr. Shukla (Apologies, I do not know your military rank).
    I just read the original artice on the Military Space Transparency Project website: http://www.spacetransparency.org/Space_Transparency/Home.html

    It is interesting to note that a disproportionate amount of "real estate" on the website is alloted to India (India bashing)... with links to articles like the one by the ex head of the New York Times India bureau..

    I cant help but wonder:

    1) What is the true purpose of tshi website/organization?
    2) Who is it funded by?
    3) Is it fair for Indian scietists to be bashed (even when they seem to deserve it), based on what appears to be a a well written, predominantly anti-India website masquerading as a responsible organization against international space weaponization efforts?

    I know that as a reporter you are not obliged to answer my humble questions.. and that you are probably just reporting one the facts as misinterpreted by paid off anti-Indian voices... but it would be great if you could share your thoughts.

    Thank you..


  36. The point is Ajai, you made a gaffe by giving this guy a podium in a respected paper. There are dozens of papers published every year by obscure tanks and Non Prolif types trying to rein in India, are you going to rubbish your own people based on what all these folks say?
    Do introspect.

  37. Matthew Hoey must be a BS.

    India should march ahead in this field in-spite of any or all oppositions.

  38. Ajai
    ASAT technology is not "weaponization of space", this is a loophole other nations have used to develop ASAT tech. Regarding "KALI" why does it have to be space based and not something like "ABL", perhaps the author knows a bit more about the mythical/classified program than we do?

    The author is clearly misinformed when it comes to weaponization of space. Regarding every word of "leaders" being watched, obama wants to reduce nuclear weapons on one hand and is going for further development of smaller, more capable nuclear warheads on another.

    duplicity is not a monopoly of "third world nations", otherwise gitmo would have been closed by now!

  39. hypocrisy at its best! US and China can have them yet when India plans it it is considered a "rogue" nation like Iran and NKorea.

    India should ignore such stupid articles and any pressure from anyone and develop them anyway. We need to stand up for ourselves and stop being such "peace" nuts.

  40. I don't know.but i think alleged statements of peaceful use of space by individual politicians may not represent govt.policy.
    ii)Security matters should be dynamic in nature and not on static entrenched thinking.
    iii)Most Indian policy statements on peaceful use of space or arms are linked with a affirmation at the ''universal''level.
    That is to say, India is always for universal dis- armament ,peaceful use of nuke power,space etc etc BUT ALL have to agree.

    One cannot expect India follow the 'Gandhi ji' ideal while US (and others) go to refine and develop deadlier weapons and have such benign and peaceful ideas like' Global Strike' ,Gobal hawk,bird kite,eagle and what have you.

  41. Mathew Hoey is a fresh-out-of-his-teens gas bag, who's trying to establish a career for himself as an uber expert on defense matters.

    Why he chooses to sit in judgment only on India and its defense research organizations and cast them in a negative light, while conveniently ignoring what the US, China, Russia are doing perhaps has to do with the fact that his career development is an 'ongoing' process, and India doesn't seem to cultivate such dime a dozen caucasian writers who pass themselves off as 'experts'. He seems to have found a niche area, critisizing India, that not too many people are doing these days.

    Now your article has given him the much needed media attention he was desperately craving.

    No need to delve on his writings or the issues that he raises. He or his ilk, are neither in a position to do prevent what India chooses to do to secure itself, nor do they have the ability to do anything that will make India's security environment any better. That job will be done by mature men from the major powers and space faring nations.

    It is pointless to discuss little hoey's selective moral pontification.

  42. fighterclass:

    "why give a lift to a paid hack like hoey ? if you pay him enough he will write a 'story' on zambia's space weapons tomorrow"

    Fighterclass, read my email above: you seem to be a subscriber to the policy of: "if you can't disprove, discredit".

    You clearly don't know the first thing about Matthew Hoey. But I suppose the great thing about internet anonymity is that you can anonymously make allegations like your one about Zambia's space programme.

    The problem is that only a certain intellectual class will accept such allegations without sneering.

    Anonymous 01:00

    "Why are you giving importance to nobodies like Mathew Hoey? And why are you giving so much prominence to what he says."

    Anonymous, my friend, Hoey is not posting on the internet calling himself Anonymous! It may just be that you are the nobody out here!!

    Brownian Motion

    "all for one little paid moron who is apparently running a one man show on a website:"

    Brownian Motion, you know what Hoey gets paid? Or are you just talking through your arse?

    "Ajai, Where is your sense of perspective, I ask you? Are you so enamoured of the US..."

    Brownian, my friend, I've put out more stuff that goes against the US than you will ever put out in your life.

    No, wait, let me rephrase that: More people have read what I have put out against the US, than will ever read what you have to put out, even if you spend the rest of your life writing diatribes!

    Anonymous 11:54

    "Maybe, the Govt. sends these conflicting signals deliberately to take the public into confidence on national security..."

    And maybe you're desperately trying to think up a fig leaf for what is actually a lack of coordination by a strategically uneducated government...!

    Anonymous 14:30

    "hypocrisy at its best! US and China can have them yet when India plans it it is considered a "rogue" nation like Iran and NKorea."

    Anonymous, both China and the US were widely criticised by analysts like Hoey when they conducted ASAT missions. Hoey, in fact, is asking in his article: why is India not being judged by the same standards.

    Satyam 14:43:

    "It is pointless to discuss little hoey's selective moral pontification."

    Then why are you devoting lengthy posts to doing so?

    Anonymous 14:43

    "One cannot expect India follow the 'Gandhi ji' ideal while US (and others) go to refine and develop deadlier weapons..."

    Of course not! Incidentally, Gandhiji justified the use of violence in many circumstances... and I'm sure he would have approved of India's ASAT programme.

    What he would DEFINITELY NOT have approved of... being a mature leader and a great politician... would be the kind of contradictory cross-talk that India has displayed on ASAT: ministers protesting that the world must peacefully use outer space; and the DRDO chief announcing timelines for violating that policy!!

  43. Ajai,
    People are never going to get your point (made in the comments). No one is arguing the merits of the case. Not one. Sad case of jingoism and latent rage. Of course the old "pre-colonial mindset" is rolled out here just as for everything else.

    To Anonymous quoted below...

    "it is you sir who is incurably stupid, better keep your head where the sun doesn't shine, it might not survive open air"

    You sir are a rare intellect. How can one argue with your perfectly reasoned and well articulated position? Absolutely ironclad....beyond refutation.....all hail - pie!

  44. last time when obama visited china, LICKED CHINESE BOOTS AND FELT CLENSED ......

    he told buffalo is better than bangalore.....

    didnt helped india for any consultancy for naval lca....

    tommorow if china attacked indian satellites in space.....he will go into NON ALIGNMENT MODE towards india and china.......if at all or may get into FRIENDSHIP WITH CHINA....



  45. wah ajai wah, you are doing the very thing that you are accusing readers of, i.e discrediting the ones whose views you do not approve.

    a number of people including me have raised various points other than matthew hoey's neutral credentials(or the lack of them).

    you however have studiously ignored all those and latched on to only the comments about the person.

    I gave you the links to his posts at BR where he had no answers to questions raised about his blatant hypocrisy and twisting facts. yet that doesn't stop him from continuing to use bharat-rakshak forum for naked self-promotion, which included posting your article multiple times over multiple threads.

    I know enough about hoey and his work, far more than you could guess. his kind survive on govt handouts and to do that it is necessary that there is one designated bogey nation. it used to be iraq but now that is done so they are re-opening a case against India. so, yes my comments about zambia stands.

    oh and btw, it does matter where the information comes from, that is why people flock to your blog and not some other military blog of which there are dime a dozen.

    if a pakistani source says that R&AW is responsible for bombings in karachi, I would question the source first, not write a long breast beating article on how R&AW is destabilising poor pakistan, which is what you have done here.

    I gave you the reason why DRDO chief's comments were necessary to create a deterrence in ASAT weapons vis-a-vis china given that we were not going to physically test. secondly, even the comment about adding KALI DOES NOT violate the outer space treaty.
    you OTOH have ignored anything approaching a fruitful discussion here and washed off your hands after tarring all your critics as some kind of nutjob. way to go !!!

    somehow I get the feeling you haven't even bothered to read the outer space treaty text, which is easily available on the net and are treating hoey's open lies as gospel.
    don't be so trusting !

  46. Ajai,

    Why spend so much of your efforts indulging in retoric and being "sarcastic back"? If you have some justification on the importance of Hoey and why we should be listening to him, please educate us. Tell us why using terms like "international flak" and "US based NGO" are justified instead of asking me how much Hoey is paid.

    And most importantly, tell us why India must be entirely consistent in words and deeds. Countries always talk through both sides of their mouths (that's one interpretation). China, for example, for years criticized the super powers for having nuclear weapons while simultaneously developing them. (and of course everyone knew that they were working on them). Almost all the nuclear powers criticize others for aspiring to go nuclear while maintaining their own stockpiles. Even china feels free to criticize India on that score - is that the height of hypocrisy?
    And you're demanding that if Indian leaders demand that outer space be weapons free, India should also ignore the fact that countries are developing methods of destroying space based assets and remain blissfully impotent in that area?
    You can interpret this as India saying, we want outer space to be peaceful but we are going to develop the capability to arm ourselves in this regard if there's no progress. Ditto with India's N weapons program - India demanded disarmament while simultaneously developing weapons technology ...
    BTW, Hoey's "analysis" doesn't take into account India's legitimate defence needs at all - it's just what the US wants (even though it's ostensibly a peacenik agenda). Exactly what use is such "analysis"?

    Regards (really :-)),

    P.S. BTW, the last I checked, my arse doesn't speak (not independently anyway).

  47. You call my writing a diatribe! Please! That my friend is trenchant commentary!

  48. Ajai, so what if there are contradictory signals? Keeping enemy confused is also a confucious policy :)

    As such, the politicians have to talk and they talk something. Their audience is different from those of the DRDO's. If some journalist asks about space weaponization, they say that they are for peaceful uses. Isn't that what they say about nuclear weapons too? That doesn't mean India shouldn't develop them.

    The main issue many of the postors here have is using a two-bit anti-India anal-yst like Mathew Hoey to criticize the policy contradictions. You could have mentioned him in passing in one line. Instead, you did a beautiful PR job on an anti-India analyst and gave him lot of press. And you are using his useless arguments as basis of your arguments.

    Like many have mentioned here, shooting down satellites isn't considered weaponisation of space. And you are using that as centerpiece of your argument!!

    Sometimes, it is better to accept a gaffe and move on, instead of trying to defend the undefensible.

  49. No one should bother about trifling persons like Matthew Hoey.

    India should move ahead with the military plans that is suitable to themselves with the national interests.

  50. You guys are talking as if DRDO has already developed this weapon and has militarised space.
    Going by their word it will take another 30 yrs to get it working if it works that is.
    I think this is just one of DRDO's tricks to gather some attention and show that they are doing something.

  51. Brownian Motion:

    "You call my writing a diatribe! Please! That my friend is trenchant commentary!"

    Brownian, I like that! Point granted.

    "BTW, Hoey's "analysis" doesn't take into account India's legitimate defence needs at all - it's just what the US wants (even though it's ostensibly a peacenik agenda)."

    Brownian, why the *&#@ should his "analysis" take into account India's legitimate defence needs??? That is where all you guys go so wrong... you believe that the world owes you a living.

    It is for you to look after your legitimate defence needs and to do so in a manner that does not make you look like a bumbling, uncoordinated idiot... the way the DRDO statements have made India look.

    Anonymous 21:04:

    "Like many have mentioned here, shooting down satellites isn't considered weaponisation of space. "

    I'm certain that you know how to read, even if you're piss poor in logic. So read the statement by Pranab Mukherjee, which is reproduced in full in my article.

    Since it seems too much trouble for any of you to actually read what I write, here is Pranab again: "the security and safety of assets in outer space is of crucial importance for global economic and social development. We call upon all States to redouble efforts to strengthen the international legal regime for the peaceful use of outer space.”

    Now tell me, does he or does he not say that shooting down satellites in space is bad stuff???

  52. @AK
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick" is not a Chinese proverb. The phrase was was used by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt at a speech in 1901. It was used as a corolary to the Monroe Doctrine.

    But your point is well taken.

  53. Ajai, nice spin on Pranab's statement. Right from Rajiv Gandhi's time, every single PM has advocated universal nuclear disarmament just like Pranab is advocating non-military use of universal space. Does that mean that DAE developing nuclear weapons is wrong? We are for universal nuclear disarmament, we are for peaceful use of space, we are for a peaceful world. It is the stated policy that we want to have peaceful relations with all our neighbours. That doesnt mean Army can't come up with cold start doctrine, right? Or that IN can't have naval blockade as a policy?

    If you as a defence journalist is so naive as to think that such statements are matter of policy and inviolable, then I have no words for you

  54. Anonymous 11:06:

    Your statement: "Ajai, nice spin on Pranab's statement. Right from Rajiv Gandhi's time, every single PM has advocated universal nuclear disarmament just like Pranab is advocating non-military use of universal space. Does that mean that DAE developing nuclear weapons is wrong?"

    Anonymous, since you really don't seem to get the point, let me use your own example to illustrate for you what I'm saying.

    When all the PMs, from Rajiv's time onwards, were advocating universal nuclear disarmament, we didn't have scientists from the DAE making public statements about when the DAE would have the technology to test. That organisation remained entirely in line with national policy.

    The first officially authentic statement about our nuclear weapons capability was BOOOOOM... BOOOOM... BOOOOM. When the first three bombs were tested on 11th May 1998.

    Exactly the same way the first official statement about our ASAT capability should have been the image of a missile smashing into a satellite... not some barely-credible promise from the DRDO.

    That, you might remember, is the way China and the US did it.

    You might also remember (though I doubt it... you sound pretty wet behind the ears) that India successfully maintained nuclear ambiguity, even without the DAE giving out statements that contradicted India's Prime Ministers. We didn't need the DAE to openly contradict ministers in order to maintain ambiguity.

    Ambiguity, for the ignoramuses who don't know it, is not maintained by one arm of government officially contradicting another. That is actually a way of dispelling ambiguity --- ambiguity about whether that country is totally stupid or not.

    When two arms of government are contradicting each other, the world gets up and says: "well one of them is lying."

    India's international credibility, won over 63 years, comes from NEVER lying officially.

  55. Shukla ji,

    A few decades ago when our then leaders and scientific and strategic community decided to embark on a nuclear weapons program, they displayed a remarkably enlightened and pragmatic attitude (like you do in your article!). They kept the entire nuclear weapons development program under wraps, all govt. departments and agencies spoke in one voice, our leaders overindulged in continuous and rather frequent harping over complete nuclear disarmament, risks of proliferation…yada yada. Guess what happened after we tested a supposedly ‘peaceful’ nuclear device? The world slapped tough sanctions on our face, some fancy three-four letter treaties came in to existence and a super duper club of nations was formed based on the sole criteria that they conducted their tests a decade before us!

    So, dear Shukla ji pls tell me what did we achieve by behaving ourselves then? What will we achieve by behaving ourselves now?

    But hey who cares? We are Indians- we were born to behave, the purpose of our existence is to fit in- who are we to flout international norms, we vermins were born to obey and follow diktat till another ABCD treaty comes into affect making possession ASAT weapons legal only for the super duper club!

    Jeez why are these Indians misbehaving now? Why are these Gandhiji's puttars speaking out of turn? Beats me! But isn't it ironic that only Hoey and you should have problem with it.

    By the way Shukla ji I think I missed your article on Gen. Deepak Kapoor's 'GAFFE'. You know the one in which you picked up some XYZ's article and criticized Gen. Kapoor for speaking out of turn about a supposed two front war under a nuclear overhang.

  56. Although I do agree about the fact that DRDO should not have mentioned about their work on ASAT - but instead should have developed the weapon and tested it anyway, I do not agree with the fact that you are giving Hoey importance. If you take the time to read his website, it seems to be blatantly biased against India. It would be the same as giving importance to a pakistani article which blamed the RAW for everything that is happening in Pakistan.

    Journalism is meant to be unbiased, by using a biased source, you are breaking that fundamental rule. Think about it.

  57. ajai says :
    Exactly the same way the first official statement about our ASAT capability should have been the image of a missile smashing into a satellite... not some barely-credible promise from the DRDO.

    Only problem being that DRDO has no mandate to conduct such a test, a fact you seem hell bent on ignoring. therefore they have to make do with statements and you can bet your last paisa that GOI is completely with saraswat's statement.

    lastly, do mention where ANYONE has lied from either DRDO or GOI ! this is a very serious allegation, but you seem to be making it quite lightly. the only one who is lying here is your friend hoey.

  58. This article is astounding in its hypocricy and I'm surprised you published it as if it held any relevance instead of writing to the author about his own double standards.

    Why should the US, Russia, China and various European countries have their own ASAT programs(whatever they may speak against it in public) but not India?

    While I am in favour of pushing an ASAT treaty(there's no way we will be able to match the Chinese in a space arms race, best to disable both our ASAT arsenals), until such a treaty comes into place we should make every effort to have an adequate ASAT deterrent. In fact we should ask the Russians for technology like the Chinese did early on, given there are no treaties on transferring such tech yet.

  59. One thing. While I see your point about contradictory statements and policies, this is nothing new in this field. Obama and Putin are also being hypocritical every time they talk about how they are against the weaponisation of space.

    Additionally, you have to take the two statements in their proper contexts. While our leaders may be against the development of ASAT weapons per se, until such a time comes when a binding ASAT treaty comes into place, we still need to have a credible deterrence in this field.

    This was the same philosophy that drove our nuclear weapons program even as successive generations of leaders publicly called for global nuclear disarmament.

  60. Ajai,

    Why have you not published my last comment correcting your interpretation of what I said? Spefically that I'm not suggesting that Hoey need to be "fair" to India but that he's not at all credible if his analysis doesn't consider India's defence needs.

  61. Ajai,

    USA first demonstrated ASAT capability in 1985! So much for it being hush-hush. Just because China was secretive about its ASAT capability, doesn't mean India has to take the same path. In fact, since China has already openly demonstrated that capability, India has no option but to counter the Chinese capability. There's no reason to be secretive anymore.

    And the most important point seems to be missed in the debate - there is no disconnect between the official Indian position and the DRDO road-map. Possessing ASAT technology doesn't mean India is suddenly in favor of weaponization of space. How did you come to that judgement?

    I believe you are one of our finest defense journalists. But I'm sorry, this article doesn't live up to your own standards.

  62. why the us cant win afghan war


  63. DRDO is long on wet dreams and short on deliverables.

    Making its wet dreams public adds fodder to India's detractors.

  64. Our politicians are known for talking out of both sides of their mouths. Few Indians trust them much, what to say of the international community. It's hard not to favour the DRDO on this one if they are seen to be doing some plain speaking. Maybe there's a generational gap here as the politicians are from the pre-partition generation while DRDO is populated by post-partition people.

  65. Ajai there seems to be a letter in sify regarding your article!


    This refers to "DRDO policy gaffes attract international flak" by Ajai Shukla (June 22). It needs to be reiterated that DRDO has not announced any road map for military space programme. Also, it has no programme to develop anti-satellite weapons. Moreover, the document "Technology perspective and capability road map" has not been published by DRDO.

    DRDO’s programmes are in tune with India’s no-first-use policy in terms of nuclear weapons and are aimed at providing effective deterrence, credible second strike capability and reliable defence against weapons aimed at undermining India’s security and integrity. Such defensive programmes are developed with a view to ensuring neutralisation of the enemy’s assets targeted at India.

    Ravi Kumar Gupta, director of public interface, DRDO

  66. Ajai how does it feel to be a channel for your countries enemies, must be great, eh?

  67. Hi Ajai,

    DRDO has publicly issued statement refuting ur article. The article is available at the following location

    The refutal has been issued by Ravi Kumar Gupta who is the director of public interface in DRDO.


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