Features of Dhanush and Indian's nuclear programme

Features of Dhanush and Indian's nuclear programme

Question - India is seeking to develop its nuclear weapons programme in recent times with NPT being a key issue. Discuss its latest nuclear capable missile Dhanush and the nuclear programme of the nation.

About Dhanush

• Dhanush means “bow” and this manoeuvring missile is a naval variant of Prithvi II. It can carry nuclear payloads of 500 to 1000 kg. Prithvi is a ballistic missile

• It was successfully test fired from a ship off Odisha coast on April 9, 2015

• This is a surface to surface missile

• This ship based missile was launched by Strategic Forces Command/SFC from an OPV/Offshore Patrolling Vessel located deep within the sea, for its complete range of 350 km according to DRDO/Defence Research and Development Organisation

• Dhanush’s launch was the perfect mission; the missile splashed down near a target point in a perfectly accurate manner

• Dhanush can target land as well as sea based targets

• The missile has been inducted into the defence forces and the trial was part of regular user training

• Dhanush is one of 5 missiles developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme

• Dhanush has a range of 350 km and it can carry conventional and nuclear payloads

• The missile provides the Indian Navy with the capability to strike enemy targets with wonderful precision

• The Missile has been successfully test fired previously on two occasions namely:
- October 5, 2012
- November 23,2013

• Dhanush missile can be employed as an anti-ship weapon plus destroying land targets based on range

• Single stage and liquid propelled Dhanush can strike targets with great precision improving the nuclear capability of the Indian Navy

About India’s Nuclear Programme

• India has carried out missile tests since it first acquired nuclear weapons capability in 1998

• India has been engaged in a arms race with Pakistan and it has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which restricts developing or testing nuclear weapons for defence purposes

• India has a well formulated nuclear power programme; it aims for 15,000 MWe of nuclear capability by 2020

• India has gained self sufficiency in reactor design as well as construction; it has yet to advance to generation II and III technology

• India has more thorium than uranium and it is developing a nuclear fuel cycle using its extensive reserves

• Nuclear power for civil use is already rampant in India

Facts and Stats

• Nuclear power for civil use has been ell established since India gained independence in 1947

• During 1948, Atomic Energy Act was passed. This was also the year the Atomic Energy Commission was established

• The department of atomic energy was created in the 1950s where India’s 3 stage plan for establishment of nuclear power was first formulated

• India’s civil nuclear strategy has aimed at independence in the nuclear fuel cycle

• It is excluded from the 1970 NPT because it acquired nuclear weapons capability after 1970

• The 5 nations which did so before 1970 were given the status of Nuclear Weapon States under the NPT

• In 1974, India detonated its first nuclear device

• Post 1972, India has been considered as a nuclear weapons capable state

• Military nuclear programme gained momentum during the 1990s

• 5 Large reactors are under construction right now; more are planned

• In the year 2013, nuclear power contributes 3.4% of the total electricity and the capacity reached 5.3GWe gradually

• Aim is 15 GWe by 2050

• India recently achieved a breakthrough in the civil nuclear deal with the US following President Obama’s visit in 2015
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