New Delhi, September 20: Documents from the trove of American whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that the United States’ secret agency NSA had specific information on two top secret Indian missile programmes and two kinds of unidentified bombs. The documents published on a website said the US agency was privy to the development of missiles–Sagarika and Dhanush– in 2005. Both Sagarika and Dhanush were successfully test-fired years later. Also Read - Dhanush, Naval Variant of Prithvi Nuclear-Capable Missile, Successfully Test-Fired Off Odisha Coast
According to the Indian Express, the document was published by a website The Intercept on September 14. The document was first uploaded on NSA’s core Signal Intelligence Directorate website, SIDtoday. These documents were provided by Snowden first, a US contractor who flee the US to Hong Kong in 2013, informing the world about NSA’s global surveillance programme.
An NSA site in Australia had geolocated signals of a suspected Indian nuclear weapons storage facility, said the article. Then another site based in Thailand reportedly isolated these signals to find that it was related to Indian nuclear weapons. The analysis of these inputs led to the discovery that India was working on Sagarika and Dhanush. The NSA, the Intercept article claimed, also found out about a pilotless target aircraft project and two unidentified bombs.
Sagarika is a Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) and Dhanush is a sea-launched Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM). Sagarika has a range of 700 km. It can carry a payload of 500 kg. It was successfully test-fired in 2008, which means the US may have information about it for years. Dhanush has a range of 350 km and was inducted in 2016.
Dhanush and Sagarika are important weapons that complete India’s nuclear triad. With the help of nuclear-capable submarines and ballistic missiles, India can fire retaliatory nuclear strike if it comes under a nuclear attack and it is not possible to fire from land and air.