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According to Gabriel Honrada, a Moscow-based Russian government scholar, India’s recent plans to test a new submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) are driven by concerns about growing military advancements in China and Pakistan.

This new missile system, if successful, would add a critical “underwater leg” to India’s existing land-based nuclear arsenal. It is designed to be integrated with both indigenously-built conventional submarines under Project 75 India and the French-designed Kalvari-class submarines.

Analysts believe that a successful test and integration of SLCMs could significantly enhance India’s naval deterrence and power projection capabilities.

Honrada’s analysis suggests the SLCM program is driven by strategic considerations. He views it as a response to China’s growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean and Pakistan’s advancements in missile technology. However, it’s crucial to note that India hasn’t explicitly confirmed this interpretation.

Key Points:

  • Dual Purpose: The SLCM program boasts two variants: a Land Attack Cruise Missile (LACM) and an Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM). This versatility allows India to address both land and maritime threats.
  • Sea-Based Deterrence: The successful integration of SLCMs onto submarines like the Kalvari-class SSKs could enhance India’s naval deterrence alongside its nuclear-powered Arihant ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). This bolsters India’s sea-based nuclear deterrent capabilities.
  • Advanced Technology: The SLCMs incorporate cutting-edge technologies like thrust vector control, in-flight wing deployment, and in-flight engine start, potentially enhancing their maneuverability and effectiveness.
  • Indigenous Development: The program highlights India’s focus on self-reliance in defense technology. The SLCMs are being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and are planned to be integrated onto indigenously manufactured submarines.

India’s new SLCM program is a significant development with far-reaching implications. While the exact motivations behind the program remain open to interpretation, it’s clear that it represents a major step forward in India’s defense ambitions and could significantly impact the regional security landscape.