Being informed about your enemy's capabilities and operational readiness is considered one of the most important prerequisites for winning any future conflict or war. It is more important when you have an unpredictable and unstable military-ruled state like Pakistan.
On March 9, an Indian missile violated Pakistan’s air space as it travelled for around 3 minutes 44 seconds inside Pakistan’s air space, covering a distance of around 120 Km before crashing at a location known as Mian Channu. Pakistan acknowledged the incident a day after on the 10th and India acknowledge it after two days on the 11th. Though India said that it was a misfire or an accidental fire, Pakistan expressed dissatisfaction over India’s response.
What’s interesting is that the missile crash site Mian Channu is close to a Pakistani military base. Though the missile crashed at an uninhabited civilian place, it could have been a very different situation if the missile would have crashed inside the nearby Pakistani military base.
Though India has a history of military accidents, friendly fires or even SOP failures, the recent Brahmos missile misfire seems to be intentional and planned rather than an accidental one.
What is Brahmos?
Brahmos is a supersonic (faster than the speed of sound) cruise missile which is meant to destroy enemy targets by evading the enemy radars (by travelling 2 to 3 times the speed of sound at low altitudes). With Brahmos, India is among the few countries in the world to have a manoeuvrable supersonic cruise missile in its inventory.
It can change its trajectory mid-air, and therefore is considered more lethal in tactical warfare or limited scale battles. Brahmos can be launched from land using the missile silos or missile-carrying canisters on movable carriers, from the air by fighter jets and from the sea by warships. This makes it extremely versatile.
Pakistan’s missile and air defence systems:
Pakistan is known to have various missile and aerial defence systems currently guarding its air space. Some of the systems are of western origin but most of them are either made in China or are of Chinese origin. Some of the newest and most advanced Chinese air defence systems that are currently the backbone of Pakistan’s air defence are:
- Low-to-Medium Altitude Air Defence System: HQ-16AE/LY-80
- Short-Range Air Defence system: HQ-7B/FM-90
- High-to-Medium Altitude Air Defence System: HQ-9/P
As Chinese military equipment suffers extreme incompatibility issues with western or European equipment, Pakistan had to also buy several Chinese radar and tracking systems like the IBIS-150 radars.
The banana military stands exposed about their operational readiness:
Pakistan’s acceptance of intrusion by an Indian missile into its air space has exposed the reality of the Chinese air defence systems that they purchased spending billions of dollars. Pakistan accepted that it did track the trajectory of the missile throughout its journey into Pakistan. This states that Pakistan’s Chinese radars were able to track the missile, but still didn’t fire any retaliatory missile to destroy the Indian missile while it was in the air. Any air or missile defence system in the world is designed to launch a retaliatory missile to destroy the intruding aerial object as soon as it tracks the intruding object’s trajectory.
Here Pakistan’s air defence command stands exposed. Either they lied about being able to track the Indian missile or else they feared destroying an Indian missile intruding their air space. It's simply impossible to digest that Pakistan would have chosen the latter option. That’s why most weapon experts have stated that Pakistan simply wasn’t able to track the Indian missile, which proves the incompetence and uselessness of Pakistan’s China-made radars and air defence systems when it comes to countering India’s advanced systems like Brahmos.
What if Pakistan would have said that they were not able to track the missile? Well, in that case, it would have been more embarrassing for the banana military, as then too, questions would have been raised on the effectiveness and purchase of costly Chinese radars, surveillance and tracking systems by Pakistan.
Pakistan’s narrative on the incident:
According to Pakistan’s DGISPR (DG Inter-Services Public Relation), the missile was unarmed and thus didn’t cause any casualties. DGISPR tried to hide their failure by repeatedly stating that the Indian missile was unarmed. Well, how can anyone say whether a missile is armed or unarmed until and unless it hits the embedded target? Humans haven’t developed such technology yet. So this argument of Pakistan’s DGISPR too stands exposed.
India achieved what it intended to achieve:
If we put aside India’s acceptance that it was an accidental misfire, it seems that India successfully tested Pakistan’s operational readiness. From air and missile defence to radar and tracking systems, all the systems that Pakistan possesses failed to either detect the Indian missile or destroy it in retaliatory action.
If it was intentional then India not only exposed Pakistan military and Chinese technology but it gave an understated message to both of its neighbours that the Indian military technology is advanced enough to compete or even surpass the military technology of the dragon and its client state.
The incident intensifies the popular belief that Pakistan won't be able to detect or counter any future missile attack from India that involves the supersonic Brahmos or its upcoming hyper-sonic variant Brahmos 2.
It was believed that, since the induction of the Brahmos missile system into India’s air defence command, India’s offence, as well as defence capabilities, have grown tremendously when compared to its western and eastern rivals. However, this was more like an on the paper statement as there was no real proof of the use of Brahmos against an enemy or inside enemy territory. Well, that missing puzzle was solved when Brahmos crossed the Indo-Pak border, travelled undetected for over 100 Kms and fell at a place located near a Pakistani military base.