20 January, 2021

‘A White Rocket Rose From the Water’

From under the ocean the SLBM emerged and with a low rumble shot into the sky. It arced on to blast an ‘enemy city’.

Pallava Bagla
‘A White Rocket Rose From the Water’

On January 27, a balmy Sunday, when all of India was soaking in the last of an extended weekend, somewhere in the Bay of Bengal, some 200 scientists, working in small teams on a flotilla of ships, coordinated their expertise to launch a missile in complete secrecy. After they reported an elated success at 1:40 pm, India announced for the first time the possession of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). This completes the acquisition of the nuclear  triad: the ability to launch nuclear missiles from land, air and sea. Plus, India robustly reinforces its credible nuclear deterrence and joins the US, Russia, France and China in having the capacity to launch a missile from under the sea. The SLBM, codenamed B-05, was fired from an underwater platform, a submerged pontoon of sorts, simulating a launch from a submarine.

I was witness to overjoyed scientists dancing like frenzied teenagers on the ship deck. I and cameraman Alphonse Raj were the only media team allowed to witness the historic launch. There had always been speculation that the  Defence Research...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Pallava Bagla

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section