SOURCE: AARAV SHARMA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Nearly two years ago after successful demonstration of its land attack capabilities on Syrian targets, Kalibr cruise missiles made a splash at the International stage and keen interest to procure them was first made by none other than Russia’s close ally India which was particularly interested in its ground strike variant for its Indian Navy warships.
Fast forward to 2018 relationship between the United States and Russia have entered a new cold war era and this war is literally been fought in India where both countries are trying to keep the biggest importer of weapons in the world by their side and to deny each other lucrative weapons sale in the process. After failing to stop India from procuring S-400 system from Russia, Washington is making yet another attempt to derail the possible sale of another Russian weapon system to India.
As per the latest Indian media reports, the Possible sale of Tomahawk Subsonic Land Attack Cruise Missile to India will be part of long-delayed upcoming India-US 2+2 talks after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov recently said that Indian Navy may get Russian-made warships armed with the lethal 3M-14 Kalibr land attack cruise missile (LACM) capable of hitting the enemy 2,500 kilometers away.
Earlier MTCR international agreements, prohibited export of missiles with a longer range to India, but after entry into this elite group by India both Kalibr and Tomahawk are in a race to be equipped on frontline warships of Indian Navy after long delays were observed in country’s Nirbhay cruise missile program.
It will be interesting to see which way New Delhi will swing since both Kalibr and Tomahawk missiles are exceptional cutting edge missiles which have been battled tested several times and have shown excellent results in conflicts they have been part for their country.
Both have a similar range of around 2000km and are highly capable of picking up targets from a host of clusters and can be fired from long distances, towards surface targets ensuring that the launch platform is not required to be any way closer to maritime waters of the rivals. This particularly is interesting in Indian scenario against Pakistan where warships parked in Indian side of the maritime border can successfully demonish all surface targets even deep inside Pakistan.
Conclusion: For India, both systems have its own advantages and its disadvantages when it comes to strategic strings it comes with. Kalibr for India will come in handy to support local development of Nirbhay cruise missile program which is still in development. Russians in past were seen more than open to help India fix issues with its Nirbhay cruise missile program and have also supplied few components for the program like NPO Saturn 36MT turbofan engine in the past to.
Russians were also open to Transfer of technology of this missile so that it can be developed locally in India if the orders were larger in size, US offer on Tomahawk is yet to be revealed but it is unlikely US officials will offer such arrangements like Russians were willing to offer regarding TOT and local help of Indingieus program.US officials are just trying to stall any possible supply of Russian system to India which will help Russian economy.