Just before noon on Thursday, news broke that the Indian Army had tested a BrahMos Block III supersonic cruise missile from Car Nicobar, part of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The detailed statement announced that the missile had successfully destroyed a target on Trak Island, a tiny uninhabited sand flat to the South-East, and located just North-west of Little Nicobar. The Army's statement also said that the test, conducted at 'extended range' signalled the activation of another BrahMos regiment in the Army (its fifth). Great story. They sent pictures too. The Army's statement was also put out by the government's Press Information Bureau, its official disseminator of official press material.
But two hours later, the Army sent out another statement:
Press Release titled " Army Operationalises Regiment of Brahmos Missile on 09 Apr 15" issued on 09 Apr at 5.29 PM may please be treated as WITHDRAWN.
The Army hasn't specified why the statement has been withdrawn, or even if the statement is incorrect. A BrahMos spokesperson said he didn't have details of the operational test, since it was conducted by the Army. While speculation swirls over the statement, it's important to note that the original statement specified a 'successful' test. The possibilities are several: (a) It wasn't a test that was meant to be announced. (b) The announcement wasn't meant to carry the details it did. (c) The test wasn't a success, and was in fact a dud. (d) There were other factual inaccuracies in the statement. (e) There was no BrahMos test at all, it was in fact a test of the Dhanush, ship-launched tactical ballistic missile.
The Army has said it will release more official information once it becomes available.
Labels: Army, Controversy, DRDO, Missiles, Press Release, RUSSIA-RELATED