back to article India flies Mach 6 scramjet for 20 whole seconds

India claims it flew a perfect scramjet test at Mach 6 on Monday. A government announcement says the vehicle hitched a ride on a rocket that ascended to an altitude of 30km before launching the “Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle “The cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge

    You forgot

    "India already has a substantial and capable military and is one of few nations to possess nuclear weapons, operate a blue-water navy and run a space program. ®"

    You forgot to add "and may go to war with Pakistan, by accident or design, at any moment."

    Also, a scramjet flies fast enough that its kinetic energy can destroy a target as well as a "tactical" nuke.

    1. Raj

      Re: You forgot

      Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971, when they were split into separate halves and have never come close to being the kind of existential threat they were before that.

      China has always been the country India viewed as a real threat, even back in the 1950s. There's an ongoing skirmish between India and China right now, as we speak.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: You forgot

        In my opinion, the biggest strategic threat to India is that of external corporations who would like and are trying to commandeer Indian industry and agriculture.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: You forgot

          And there was me thinking the India outsourcers were trying to undermine external corporations from within!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

        Since Pakistan is a nuclear armed state, some might - perhaps - dispute such a conclusion.

        1. First Light Bronze badge

          Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

          Pakistan prefers to fight its battles with India through proxy terrorist groups.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

            The way nearly all countries have since the world wars. Armies facing each other is far too expensive in all kinds of ways.

        2. Raj

          Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

          North Korea is a nuclear armed state. So what ? You should read history before spouting off.

          There was a time when Pakistan threatened India's existence. They were huge, quite a bit richer, better armed, and angry about the partition.

          Today, they're just a shell of their former self. Poorer than Bangladesh. India's strategic weapons are designed with China in mind. ICBMs are an overkill against a country whose targets are within artillery or SRBM reach.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

            Indeed they are. Why do you think nobody has invaded them?

            1. Raj

              Re: "Pakistan hasn't been a threat since 1971"

              For the same reason India doesn't invade Pakistan - we don't want to deal with 200 million people who are poorer and nothing but trouble.

              Thank God for partition.

          2. Paul Kinsler

            Re: nuclear armed

            Anything nuclear armed is a nontrival danger, and not only to themselves, no matter how feeble they might seem in other respects:

            See e.g.


            where perhaps fig.1 might be of interest.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    You forgot to add "and may go to war with China, by accident or design, at any moment."

    There have been incursions on both sides in recent months.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    You forgot to add "and may go to war with neighbouring states who also posses nuclear weapons."

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: And...

      May go to war with China simply for overshooting the intended target, by forgetting to throttle back the engines.

      Seriously though - Kudos to them on this feat though.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: And...

        Don't worry. They've thought of this and put a large mountain range in the middle, just in case.

  4. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    Blue water navy?

    Are there any other types of navy?

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Blue water navy?

      Yes, there are

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Blue water navy?

        Don't forget the whitewater navies. They only have paddles and canoes, but they can drink many nations' navies under the table.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blue water navy?

      The Bolivian Navy ....

    3. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Blue water navy?

      Yes! A blue water navy is held to be capable of force projection across at least one ocean or into an adjacent region. There's only about 15 nations with such navies.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Blue water navy?

        And interestingly 2 of the 7 that aren't in NATO are in the Commonwealth.

        Sadly the Indian navy appears to be more capable at the moment than the Royal Navy.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Blue water navy?

          My Bath Force 1 can outdo them at the moment.

  5. ISYS
    Thumb Up

    Love the countdown guy

    5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Now!

    Right I'm outta here - my work is done.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Love the countdown guy

      Maybe he's just being positive? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, lift-off....oops, I mean BANG. "Now" covers all eventualities :-)

  6. mr-slappy


    If only governments invested as much money and creative energy on inventions that actually improved people’s lives.

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Re: Amazing.

      Unfortunately the standard response is that the first duty of the government is to safeguard the "nation" - if the nation is overrun then how can the government help the starving people?

      Of course it is doubtful whether starving people are concerned about which government provides their food. Sovereignty only benefits the haves, not the have nots.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Amazing.

        Don't underestimate the ability of government to extract things from the have-nots, or simply make their lives more miserable.

    2. Caver_Dave

      Re: Amazing.

      Remember that the UK gives India huge amounts of money to help with basic sanitation, while India spends all this money on Scramjets and space missions. And yet the UK doesn't have the money for its own space program.

      1. BillD

        Re: Amazing.

        One argument for giving India aid is that it buys the UK political influence. I don’t think it is relevant now a days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Amazing.

          Surely buying political influence with non-EU countries is more relevant than ever at the moment?

      2. Major N

        Re: Amazing.

        it also goes some way to restitution for the huge amount of money we took out whilst not improving the lives of the citizens during cololonial times.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing.

        Actually we don't give India huge amounts of money, we don't give the Indian Government any money. In recent years we have had aid programmes focussed more on 'enterprise' than 'sanitation' in India. And anyway, while I don't necessarily approve of military R&D spend, it's basically just recycling money in your own economy, if you spend it with local companies.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Amazing.

          " it's basically just recycling money in your own economy, if you spend it with local companies."

          And in this specific case of India, that's precisely the aim of the military R&D. To build and keep a local industry so as to not be beholden to foreign arms suppliers.

      4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Amazing.

        Shock horror - a country with a population of 1.3Bn can afford a space program, and one with a pop of 65M can't. What do you mean we could join up with the other 450M people in the EU and take part in the ESA but sheer pig-headedness stops us from doing so (any more)?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Amazing.

          "What do you mean we could join up with the other 450M people in the EU and take part in the ESA but sheer pig-headedness stops us from doing so (any more)?"

          The UK is still a member of ESA. We just don't get some of the juicy contracts for EU funded projects any more or access to the military grade part of Galileo because non-members are seen as a security risk. That clause was enacted at the insistence of the UK back when it was a part of the EU. Oops.

      5. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Amazing.

        The Uk does have money for its own space program. We just dont vote in government capable of organising Test and Trace let alone rocket science.

      6. Persona Silver badge

        Re: Amazing.

        Whilst the UK invests in some Indian companies it no longer gives aid money directly to the Indian government

      7. Raj

        Re: Amazing.

        "Huge amounts of money to help with basic sanitation" ?

        Ah the same regurgitated tabloid whine, going strong 25 years later. Let's pretend youre right. What does it tell you about the competence of your own government if they've been throwing money away like this ?

        India holds hard currency reserves of nearly $550 billion, of which about $170 billion is US treasuries, perhaps $50 billion in UK debt. In other words, India currently holds more western debt in the form of its currency reserves than all the 'aid' ever sent to India.

      8. John Jennings Bronze badge

        Re: Amazing.

        Not really

        We do spend money on stuff like sanitation - though much more on Bangladesh and elsewhere.

        In return, India supports our Steel industry, and props up most of our IT infrastructure!

        India spends about 2.5 percent GDP on defense - and has 2 warm/hot borders (China & Pakistan)...

        The US spends 3.2, and the UK about 1.9

        So its in the ball park.

        1. Raj

          Re: Amazing.

          British 'aid' to doesn't go into sanitation. It feeds British influence. You can't actually 'pay money into sanitation' as a foreign entity other than an international agency like WB - the funding process needs stability and is budgeted ahead of time under the budgetary overview of CAG, not at the annual whim of some bloke in London. You can't just walk up and write a cheque 'towards 10 toilets' or something ridiculous like that.

          All recent gains are planned and budgeted spending. In the past 5 years India has

          * increased coverage of access to toilets from under 40% to near universal coverage:

          * electrified essentially every last village in India:

          The government's current goal is universal piped water access by 2024, a project that was started with ~18% coverage last year, and is now at 28%:

          People wonder why a so called right wing demagogue is so popular in India, winning back to back majorities in a manner not seen in over 40 years. That's because he isn't a right wing demagogue but a social democrat who's been spending tens of billions of the budget each year to ensure the poor have access to every basic need. That's why he's continuously retained an approval rating at or above 70% for 6 years now.

      9. pradeepvasudev

        Re: Amazing.

        It took India 70 years to undo 150 years of British depradation but we are good to go now, thank you. So from now on please blame your sucky non existent program on your own inefficiency.

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Amazing.

      Yes, because research has never given us spin off benefits in other fields which have improved lives.

      The indian space program costs about a tenth of a percent of their GDP, not a particularly significant amount of money - between $2 and $3 per resident, per year.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing.

        So, a day's pay for someone lucky enough to be employed for the minimum wage. What about counting those with no income?

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Amazing.

          It may be a days pay to those on the minimum wage but redirecting that money in their direction is not likely to improve their lot one iota but it would go into someone who probably doesnt deserve its coffers.

          1. General Purpose

            Re: Amazing.

            Don't let poor people have money, they'd only spend it?

        2. Raj

          Re: Amazing.

          So you're belaboring under the misapprehension that the British government actually spends money properly in your area then ? Fix your home before you point fingers elsewhere.

  7. Wolfclaw

    India already has a substantial and capable military and is one of few nations to possess nuclear weapons, operate a blue-water navy and run a space program

    You also forgot to add that it is incapable of educating, housing and feeding the masses, protecting females from mass gang rapes, female infanticide, widespread police and political corruption, wide scale sectarian and religious prejudice ... the list is long !!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      The astute amongst us might notice that several, if not all, of those criticisms could be equally well levelled at supposedly "civilised" countries.

      "What do I think of Western civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea." - Mahatma Gandhi (possibly apocryphal)

      I'm not saying that India doesn't have problems that are uniquely Indian (the caste system and "untouchables" springs to mind), but at the same time, Britain has uniquely British problems (such as political corruption and undue influence of tax-exiles who control the right-wing press), and the US has uniquely American problems (race riots, widespread and almost comic-book political corruption, late-stage capitalism funnelling all the money into the hands of a tiny minority, etc.)

      1. Valeyard

        he's talking about female infanticide and a widespread gang rape problem and you're saying "yeah but we have right wing newspapers"

        just pointing that out

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Actually, I'm pointing out that, for instance, the US has a long standing and widespread serious problem with racism, and that, when raising the issue of political corruption, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Just today, for example, we have a senior civil servant resigning because our government wants to break international law by reneging on an international treaty that is less than a year old, and the civil service code prevents him from being party to this.

          I'm not trying to minimise the issues that India has, but at the same time, we should be putting our own house in order before we go about casting criticism about those overseas. It's probably worth noting as well, that whilst the term "widespread gang rape problem" is alarming, and is indeed something that should be tackled, it is not unique to India, any more than widespread racist violence, or police brutality is unique to the US. Flippantly casting aspersions on a whole nation of well over a billion people because of various social, cultural, and political problems that exist in that country is at best counterproductive.

          1. First Light Bronze badge

            I disagree about the gang rape issue.

            Gang rape was a tool used by higher castes to keep lower castes in check. Rapes of lower-caste women have occurred with impunity for centuries. So yes, there are circumstances in India that are specific to the country and it does differ from the rest of the world.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Gang rape was a tool used by higher castes to keep lower castes in check. Rapes of lower-caste women have occurred with impunity for centuries.

              I'm not claiming that it's not a problem, it obviously is. The caste system is obviously wrong, to the eyes of an outsider. For an Indian, they may be able to make strong arguments for it (I've not heard any).

              But do you know what? Other countries have, or have had in recent history, equivalents by other names. Apartheid, class systems, religious and ethnic segregations of all sorts. You only have to look at the Balkan conflict in the '90s to see the near equivalent, with widescale gang-rape of minority Bosnian Kurd women used as part of the "ethnic cleansing". I think it's fair to say that it goes on in pretty much every conflict zone throughout history. It doesn't make it right, of course not, but it also doesn't make it a uniquely Indian problem in either nature or scale. It could be argued that the real issue here is actually of lawlessness, and not the acceptability of such actions.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            To add a little to my initial response in this thread, and take the criticisms of the OP point by point:

            incapable of educating, housing and feeding the masses

            Here in the UK, we have a growing homeless population, and increasing number of people reliant on food banks to feed themselves. We have a "benefits" system with "sanctions" that has resulted in vulnerable adults starving to death in recent years. Yes indeed, this may not be on the scale of the problems in India, but we are supposedly a developed nation, and India are developing.

            protecting females from mass gang rapes

            I really don't want to minimise this problem, I actually feel quite strongly that it is something that should be tackled as robustly as possible (needless to say this doesn't include mob violence as an answer as has happened in some instances). It is, however, not uniquely an Indian problem, although it sounds like the scale of the problem there may be incomparable to that elsewhere. This is, of course, the sort of thing that international development can help with.

            female infanticide

            Again, this is a serious cultural problem, but let's not kid ourselves that it only occurs in India. There's this other big country right next door with a similar, if not greater, problem.

            widespread police and political corruption

            Well, you could say this about many, many countries. What about political corruption in the UK? Police corruption (and racism) in the US? Russia? Belarus? China? It's very easy to pint the finger at elsewhere, and say, "look how corrupt their politicians are" whilst not noticing corruption at home, because one of the things the corrupt do effectively is to suppress domestic opposition, through control of the media, and silencing of opposition. What is, to our eyes, obvious corruption elsewhere may not even be visible to the people living in that country.

            wide scale sectarian and religious prejudice

            Without even getting into the history of Christianity in Europe (and even the foundation of the good old tea-and-biscuits CofE is soaked in blood), you'd have to be blind to think this is unique to India. How about the fact that it is next-to-impossible to enter politics in the US without openly professing belief in some deity? How about ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims in China? I won't list all the places where religious conflict is actively taking place today, because it's a significant part of the planet.

            Of course, the ever closer fusion between state and state religion in India is concerning, just as it is in Turkey, or in Russia. As a secular Humanist, it's worrying prevalent across the world. But again, not just India, is it?

            My point wasn't that India doesn't have issues - it does - it was that many of the criticisms that are being levelled at India apply equally elsewhere, and India is a big ol' country - so criticism of one part shouldn't be used as an argument against the country as a whole. FWIW, I think there are many legitimate criticisms of India's government, and without getting drawn into foreign politics, I think Modi is an arsehole. But then again, so is Johnson, so is Trump, so is Putin, so is Xi, so is Bolsanaro, so is Erdoğan, et al. Criticism against India on those grounds is no more valid than criticism of almost any country.

      2. First Light Bronze badge

        Most dangerous for women

        India was about to approve free education from ages 3 to 18 this year (as opposed to the current 6 to 14 years): the economic consequences of a badly-handled COVID outbreak ended that. The government said it could no longer afford to carry out the plan to expand access to education. But endless resources are going into the defense budget. It's a matter of priorities.

        1. First Light Bronze badge

          Re: Most dangerous for women

          The title refers to the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey in 2018 finding that India is the most dangerous country in the world for women ahead of Afghanistan, Syria, etc. The survey result was controversial, however much violence takes place inside the home against women and girls, and is vastly underreported. Nothing like adequate resources exist in India to protect women (and many men), and the criminal justice system is a joke.

        2. pradeepvasudev

          Re: Most dangerous for women

          When you are facing the constant threat of war from Ireland and France, then I'd like to see you talk about wasting money on defense.

          India faces serious threats from both China and Pakistan and still spends less than 2.5% of its gdp on defense.

      3. Raj

        The "caste system and untouchables" ?

        Most British and westerners in general simply do not understand this.

        * Most 'caste conflicts' are not between 'high' and 'low' - it's between 'low' and 'lower' competing for a limited economic gain.

        * Almost all caste barriers are fundamentally economic ones now - those who are clearly competent are going to make their way to the top.

        * You can cross state borders and change caste 'position'. I am 'low caste' in one state and 'high caste' in another.

        * For most people, your caste is invisible until you state it. There's no official documentation. Remove any caste appellation and poof, you're 'generic'.

        The current Indian President is an untouchable, and he's not even the first. The Prime Minister is "low caste". The Indian Constitution was drafted by an "untouchable" - who was the greatest legal mind of his time, taken out of poverty by a local raja and sent to study in the US and then UK back in the 1920s.

        An untouchable in India can demonstrably get far higher in life than a black in the UK. Fix your own problems first.

      4. pradeepvasudev

        Think about this: why does every corrupt dictator, businessman, oligarch run to the UK whenever he is in trouble. Indians have been fighting to get back Vijay mallya, nirav modi and a dozen others since half a decade even though India has a treaty with UK.

        The UK is the decadent bolt hole of every slime bag in the world because they know that the system has been designed to protect them.

        Reality: the average Brit has been fed this story about UK being a haven for freedom and rule of law, but in reality, the edge cases of the law have been designed to protect the corrupt from all over the world, as long as they can pay for it.

        As nations like India become more and more powerful, they will continue to lose respect for the UK, because they see what's going on, but they can't do much about it for now. Eventually when they can change things around, the UK will also lose its soft power, its influence and it will become just a chilly backwater on the edge of Europe.

    2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Britain has a shortage of affordable housing. A woman starved to death in scotland last month, and we are widely expected to have nationwide supply issues after brexit. We are not without gang rape, and a falling conviction rate. We have political incompetence and corruption (Robert Jenrick and Richard Desmond being the most recent). We have a long history of sectarian violence and religious prejudice in several flavours, and up to and including politicians and journalists inciting hatred of and violence against muslims.

      I don't want to downplay India's obvious social issues, but people in glass houses etc.

      1. First Light Bronze badge

        As someone living in India for some time, and paying attention to the news, I can attest that any gang rape issue in the UK/US/Europe is NOWHERE near as severe and pervasive as what occurs here.

        False equivalencies, people.

        1. Raj

          Oh, you can 'attest' eh ? How exactly do you accomplish this awesome feat ? Stand around with a clipboard and pen to note the relative distress of the victims on a checklist and offer a detailed comparison ?

          Mind you, I'm not diminishing the crime. I'm mocking your laughable pretensions of grandeur - "Oh I've been to India and I've the self styled right to issue certificates now". Hahaha.

          For 400 years, westerners have been making up fantastic stories from their travels. The modern day version of tales of sea monsters and hydra headed serpents, to be fed to their gullible brethren who are only too willing to believe you just because you share the same color of skin.

          1. BigSLitleP

            The people of India seem to think that India has an issue with gang rape. Maybe you should stop pointing fingers at westerners?

            As many people have said, every country has serious issues. Whataboutism's aren't helping anyone. Rather than pointing fingers, what are you doing to solve these problems?

            1. pradeepvasudev

              The people of India will figure things out for themselves, we will deal with our problems, so kindly stop advising us on what our priorities should be.

              We are not blaming Westerns for our issues, but really, telling us that we need to spend money on something that YOU think is high priority, as this whole discussion has been, is just sad.

          2. pradeepvasudev

            I remember this line that Lee Kwan Yew had about Western journalists coming to Asia and gaining deep insights into the issues of thousand year old civilizations and knowing the solutions, all within 3 weeks of landing up.

            Same thing with all these expats - albatrosses all of them - fly in, shit all over the place, and fly away.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      And yet western companies can get away with mass murder in India and get off scot free? Bhopal still not paid for. Its not just India with problems.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        To be fair, the Bhopal tragedy would be best described as corporate manslaughter, rather than murder. This is not to diminish it, just to give it its rightful name. Those responsible should have been held to account. Whether it is still possible to do so 36 years later, or to even trace the lines of accountability, is another matter. I suspect a complex web of accountability, both in India, and the US, shrouded in secrecy and cover-ups.

        ...not to mention that the guy at the top of the chain at the time, is now dead...

        edit - worth nothing that if you read the wiki article on it, "not paid for" presumably doesn't include the $470M out of court settlement made by UCC. Arguably not enough, yes, but also not, "not paid for".

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      “You also forgot to add that it is incapable of educating, housing and feeding the masses, protecting females from mass gang rapes, female infanticide, widespread police and political corruption, wide scale sectarian and religious prejudice ... the list is long !!”

      Are you talking about the UK here? Not sure about the female infanticide, but we definitely have everything else listed here.

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