Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is an Indian company founded in 1970 that produces and sells guided missiles and associated defense equipment.[i] BDL used to be a fully state-owned enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defense.[ii] However, in March 2018 BDL was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India.[iii] BDL works amongst others for the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to produce missiles for the Indian armed forces.[iv]
BDL produces different types of missiles that can carry submunition warheads. Together with the DRDO, BDL has co-developed the different types of Prithvi missiles, for which different kinds of warheads have been developed, including a cluster munitions one. Both the Prithvi I and II are also fitted with submunitions warheads.[v]
A 2018 DRDO publication explicitly mentions the importance of cluster munitions for the DRDO and the Indian military and describes the development of cluster munition warheads for the Prithvi missile: “A major technological breakthrough has been the development of submunition warheads for various medium and large calibre missiles, rockets, bombs and artillery systems. An innovative warhead test vehicle has been evolved for test and evaluation. DPICM bomblet, incendiary, prefragmentation and penetration-cum-blast submunitions have been established for warheads for Prithvi missile, Pinaka rocket and artillery rounds.”[vi]
Bharat Dynamics Limited is considered a cluster munitions producer because there is sufficient evidence that it developed and produced the cluster munition-capable Prithvi II missile after May 2008.
BDL has not refuted this information, has not responded to PAX’ requests for more information and has not stated publicly that it would stop producing cluster munitions.
[i] Bloomberg, “Company Overview of Bharat Dynamics Limited”, Bloomberg website, (www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=23006716), viewed 16 November 2018.
[iii] NSE, “Bharat Dynamics Limited”, NSE website, (www.nseindia.com/live_market/dynaContent/live_watch/get_quote/GetQuote.jsp?symbol=BDL&illiquid=0&smeFlag=0&itpFlag=0), viewed 9 November 2018.
[v] Missile Defense Project “Prithvi-I/II/III,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, published August 11, 2016, last modified June 15, 2018, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/prithvi/, last viewed 17 October 2018, citing IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic, p. 37-39.
[vi] Technology Focus, “Warhead for torpedoes, missiles and rockets”, Vol 26 N. 03, May-June 2018, available at www.drdo.gov.in/drdo/pub/techfocus/2018/TF_May-Jun_2018_web.pdf last viewed 29 August 2018.