The strong possibility that chemical weapons were used in Wednesday’s attacks in Afghanistan has brought the dangerous reality to India’s doorsteps. Pakistan’s growing arsenal of strategic and tactical nuclear weapons and the declared intent of terror outfits like Al Qaeda, Taliban and ISIS to acquire non-conventional weapons, including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, has resonated very strongly in India and rapid steps are already underway to combat such attacks, be it from state or non-state actors.
“We have not faced nuclear or chemical attacks, but we will have to be prepared at every moment to deal with the issue,” defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursd-ay. Alluding to reports of chemical attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday, he said: “While these reports are yet to be confirmed, I have seen photographs of the local population suffering from blisters and burns and they are quite distressing.”
Significantly on Thursd-ay itself, the state-owned Defence Research and De-velopment Organisation (DRDO) handed over to the Army the NBC (nuc-lear, biological and chemical) Recce Vehicle which is all set to be deployed.
Resembling a battle tank and equipped with GPS navigation, meteorological sensors and radiation sensors, the NBC Recce Vehicle is capable of conducting effective reconnaissance of radiological and chemically contaminated areas, demarcation of contaminated zones, real-time communication of digital data after analysing the solid and liquid samples to the supported formation.