The Indian armed forces have inducted nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defence equipment for detection, protection, medical management and decontamination of dirty nuclear bombs.
The equipment worth Rs12bn ($219.6m) has been developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in collaboration with the Indian Home Ministry to effectively counter nuclear bombs and hazardous biological or chemical agents.
The defence equipment includes nerve agent detectors, dosimeters, portable gas chromatographs, autoject injectors, first-aid kits, NBC integrated field shelters, respiratory masks and suits, roentgenometers, NBC reconnaissance vehicles and decontamination systems.
The Times of India quoted DRDO chief controller W Selvamurthy as saying that NBC materials can be employed by either independent non-state actors or by state adversaries as a low-cost alternative weapon to terrorise the nation.
Selvamurthy said: "A state can use a proxy… to deliver biological warfare agents like plague, anthrax and typhoid, which are easier and cheaper to develop than nuclear weapons and are potentially far more destructive than chemical agents to unprotected military forces or civilian populations."
The organisation has also worked with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to develop standard operating protocols (SOPs) to train rapid response teams in early detection and handling of NBC threats at all major centres.
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As per the NBC threat analysis, DRDO estimates that the Indian military as well as civilian forces will need to induct an additional Rs100bn ($1.8bn) of NBC defence equipment over the next five years to counter asymmetric warfare.
Currently, the research wing also aims to develop next-generation NBC defence equipment under an Rs2.85bn project approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security.