The Defence Ministry’s decision to acquire the indigenous short-range ballistic surface-to-surface (SRBM) missile Pralay, a conventional weapon that has been ready for induction in just seven years, adds heft to the Indian military’s war-fighting capabilities. A high-level Defence Ministry meeting approved the acquisition of approximately 120 pralay missiles for the armed forces and their deployment along borders. Since India now allows the use of ballistic missiles in tactical roles, the acquisition of these ballistic missiles is regarded as a significant development for the country.
The missile will be India’s first tactical quasi-ballistic missile, allowing the armed forces to target enemy positions and critical infrastructure in actual battlefield areas. Pralay, along with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, will form the core of India’s planned Rocket Force, a concept envisioned by the late General Bipin Rawat, former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). According to defence sources, only conventional missiles will be included in the planned Rocket Force when it is ready, while nuclear weapons will remain under the control of the Strategic Forces Command.
The Indian missile is similar to China’s Dong Feng 12 and Russia’s Iskander missile, both of which have been used in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. The US Army is continuing to work to extend the range of a similar short-range ballistic missile known as the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM). Pralay is deadly because it is a quasi-ballistic weapon, which means that it has a low trajectory and is largely ballistic, it can maneuver in flight. It is designed to avoid interceptor missiles.