PM reviews status of Nuclear Command Authority

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 07 October 2013, 07:20 PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday took stock of the preparedness of the country's nuclear arsenal with the top security brass, including Chiefs of the three Services.

The command and control structures of the forces handling the arsenal are understood to have come up for discussion at the meeting of the Nuclear Command Authority headed by the Prime Minister.

The meeting was attended by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh, Air Chief N AK Browne and Naval Chief D K Joshi, sources informed.

The sources said it was the usual biannual meeting of the Command.

The critical Tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) was created in 2003 to manage and administer country's nuclear arsenal.

At present, it is headed by Lt Gen-rank officers of the three Services on a rotational basis but it is learnt that the Army, which controls majority of the strategic assets, wants its officer to head the body on a permanent basis while retaining the tri-services nature of the body at the lower level.

"The majority of the assets such as the long-range Agni missiles are held by the Army and therefore, the control of the SFC should be with us," an Army official said.

The SFC has the nuclear-capable Prithvi (150 to 350-km range), Agni-I (700-km) and Agni-II (2,500-km) ballistic missiles under its operational control at present.

Incidentally, the Agni-2 was successfully test-fired by the SFC today off the coast of Odisha.

First Published: Monday, October 07, 2013 07:18 PM
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