The US always felt India had no reason to pursue a missile programme with a range beyond 5,500 km because it would be enough to target China and anything more than that would be useless, according to a declassified 1990 CIA document.
The US assessment is borne out by India not yet deciding to go ahead with a missile beyond 5,000-km range of Agni V that was test fired recently even as reports suggest that a version of Agni V with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Warheads (MIRV) is being developed.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the partially declassified top secret intelligence assessment dated June 1, 1990, on the “Ballistic Missiles in India and Pakistan” said: “We see little benefit to India of developing ICBM-class (more than 5,500 km range) missile. A missile with considerable less range would be able to strike any target in China.”
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Any Indian ballistic missile with beyond 6,000 km range would be able to reach parts of Europe — a target India never considered in its strategic defence programmes.
Most of the report has not been declassified.
Talking about Pakistan’s ballistic missiles, the report says: “Both Hatf (I-II) are flawed by the lack of a guidance system and, hence, have very poor accuracy… Pakistan is attempting to obtain Scud missiles technology from North Korea and is developing LD – a probably longer range system.”
“Pakistani officials have also been in contact with representatives of the European consortium that supervised the development of the 750-1,000 km range Condor II in Argentina. Production of the Condor II or another missile with a range longer than the Hatf II is likely in Pakistan by the mid-to-late 1990s.”
The report clearly shows the US did not make any serious effort in restricting Pakistan from violating the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Pakistan went on to develop Shaheen III with range beyond 2,500 km.
India, on June 27, 2016, became 35th full member of the MTCR — an informal and voluntary partnership among 35 countries, which prevent proliferation of missile technology over more than 300 km.