India is likely to conduct multiple missile tests from the Abdul Kalam Islands off the coast of Orissa in the Indian Ocean, next week. According to two Notice to Airmen, or NOTAM issued by India, a missile test is scheduled between 24 April and 29 April, while the other test is scheduled between 26 April to 28 April. The no-fly zone suggests that the missile to be tested could fly to a distance of 750 kilometres.
This notification comes at a time when tensions between India and China are running high, since China announced the names of eleven Indian locations in Arunachal Pradesh, which resulted in a war of words between the Indian Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Additionally, the ongoing border standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control has entered its third year and shows no signs of de-escalation.
It appears that instead of resolving the issue, the Chinese are reinforcing their positions and have plans to maintain their forward positions permanently.
Experts believe that the first notifications could likely be for a test launch of an air-to-air missile or a surface-to-air (SAM) defence missile, while the second notification, 750 kilometres long, could be for a BrahMos long-range supersonic cruise missile.
Last month (14 March), India conducted two consecutive flight tests of the very short-range air defence system (VSHORADS) from the east coast.
The VSHORADS, has been designed and developed indigenously by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories and Indian industry partners.
The VSHORADS missile is a man-portable air defence system (MANPAD) that utilizes many innovative technologies, including a miniaturized reaction control system and integrated avionics.
The missile system, being man-portable and lightweight compared to other missile systems, can be deployed quickly in the mountains close to the Line of Actual Control with China, in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
A week before the VSHORADS test (7 March), India also conducted a test of Indo-Israeli medium range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) from INS Vishakapatnam and on 5 March tested BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Kolkata class destroyer.
The Indo-Israeli MRSAM is an air-defence missile which can destroy various targets like fighter jets, bomb, UAVs, cruise and ballistic missile at a maximum range of 70 kilometres, while the BrahMos missile is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile which can destroy land and sea-borne targets at ranges above 400 kilometres.