India has taken a major step forward in its pursuit of developing a robust ballistic missile defence (BMD) system with the successful maiden flight trial of its sea-based endo-atmospheric interceptor missile.
The trial, carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy off the coast of Odisha, showcased the country's naval BMD capabilities to intercept long-range missiles.
This achievement puts India in the elite club of nations possessing naval BMD capabilities, a significant milestone in its defence capabilities.
The successful demonstration of the ship-based BMD capabilities has also brought India closer to achieving self-reliance in developing complex network-centric anti-ballistic missile systems.
India has made considerable progress in developing endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric intercept systems to destroy incoming hostile missiles within and outside the atmospheric limits.
The two systems have been integrated for a multi-layered defence against ballistic missiles. The country had already demonstrated its land-based BMD systems to destroy ballistic missile threats.
The successful trial was widely applauded, with Union defence minister Rajnath Singh congratulating DRDO, the navy, and industry partners involved in the mission.
The DRDO chief Samir V Kamat said that India had achieved self-reliance in developing complex network-centric anti-ballistic missile systems.
India's BMD programme is being pursued in two phases – the first phase has already been completed, while the second is currently underway.
The second phase is aimed at validating intercept systems in a new range category. In November 2022, DRDO successfully tested for the first time a long-range interceptor missile, called AD-1, designed for both exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric interception of ballistic missiles.