For decades, India has feared a multi-front war with China and Pakistan. By modernizing its military, along with investments in nuclear weapons and hypersonic missiles, New Delhi could be on a pathway to deter or manage conflict with either one of its nuclear-armed neighbors.
In what appears to be the second hypersonic missile test in weeks, India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable hypersonic missile dubbed "Shaurya," defense sources told Hindustan Times.
"The surface-to-surface tactical missile was blasted off from a canister strapped to the ground launcher from launch complex 4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in the APJ Abdul Kalam Island around 12.10 pm and covered the desired range," the source said.
The state-of-the-art missile, with speeds of March 7.5 (5,754 mph), was able to conduct a "maneuver" at the "closing stages of its flight before striking a predefined target in the Bay of Bengal.
A Defence Research and Development Organisation official said Shaurya is one of the top ten missiles in the world "with high-performance navigation and guidance systems, efficient propulsion systems, sophisticated control technologies and canisterised launch."
The missile can be launched from canisters mounted on a truck or from missile silos buried deep underground. The source said the missile could easily be transported by truck, allowing the mobile platform to continually be moved and making it harder for China or Pakistan to detect them with satellite imaging.
The New Indian Express said, "the missile is capable of deceiving enemy radar aims to give India more options to hit back, in case it is attacked with nuclear weapons."
Just weeks ago, India "successfully" test-fired a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle that was capable of hitting speeds over Mach 6 (4,600 mph).
Successful flight test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV) from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island off the cost of Odisha today. pic.twitter.com/7SstcyLQVo— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) September 7, 2020
The early September launch came as India and China have been locked in a military standoff along the Line of Actual Control, a 2,175 mile disputed border between both countries, that stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim.
In terms of geopolitical instabilities, the world is focused on the developments surrounding the Armenian-Azerbaijan war, but a close eye should also be kept on the Sino-Indian border.