Bay of Bengal:
India successfully tested its submarine-based ballistic missile capability by launching it from deep inside the Bay of Bengal. This system has been in the making for the last 20 years and Sunday's launch was the fourteenth consecutively successful launch of this unique system.
The missile has been designed and perfected by AK Chakrabarty, the Director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad, which is the mother facility for India's Integrated Missile Development Programme. This launch was particularly poignant for Mr Chakrabarty as he has been involved with this project since its very inception, and now within a few hours of the last developmental launch, he is retiring after many decades of glorious service to the nation.
When NDTV caught up with him seconds after the launch was declared successful, Mr Chakrabarty's eyes had welled up. On being asked, he said, "this is my swan song and these are tears of joy and ecstasy. The launch could not have been better than this."
Mr Chakrabarty is extremely well loved and respected by his young team of scientists who celebrated Sunday's success by hoisting him up on their shoulders and dancing around.
Scientists are usually very well composed, but here they let their emotions loose and danced on the deck of the ship. They even cut a large cake; sweets were shared with great gusto. Mr Chakrabarty says he has learnt the art of missile making by the hands of India's original missile man, former President APJ Abdul Kalam. He also saluted the leadership and team spirit which was instilled in the missile complex of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by Mr Kalam. Mr Chakrabarty says he feels the next big challenge would be to test the missile when it is incorporated on INS Arihant in the next few months. And he hopes that the continuous success will lead to an early deployment of the weapons system.
The missile now gives India the unique capability to hide its nuclear weapons deep under the sea and launch at will. This is a much-needed deterrent capability since it provides a potent and stable second strike capability to India. Mr Chakrabarty gave all the credit to his team of about 200 youngsters who made this mission possible. "I leave this position with the sense of satisfaction that India's security is in safe hands," Chakrabarty said.