The Path Unexplored

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Author: Dr Sivathanu Pillai
Publisher: Pentagon Press, New Delhi
(Pp 278, ISBN 9788182 747906, Rs 995)

Author Dr Sivathanu Pillai of this book, who is not only the author but a scientist in real sense, has an outstanding storytelling talent which makes The Path Unexplored a wonderful piece everyone can enjoy reading the amazing story on the development of BrahMos cruise missile. Interesting anecdotes in the book open right from the ‘Preface’ in which Dr Sivathanu recounts how and what instilled him to write this book. One-day he was on a warship sailing on the Arabian Sea towards the western coast near Goa after a phenomenally successful flight test of BrahMos. He sat in the captain’s chamber, which was allotted to him for the journey, to write down some tasks lying ahead. He thought he would need some fresh air to dream further. So, he went to the bridge on the top of the ship and settled in the fleet commander’s high-raised chair covered with the beauty of nature. Light cool breeze embracing him; the setting sun’s scattered light glittered the entire sea, followed by the transition from twilight to night. He then looked up to see the moon and some sparkling stars over the Arabian Sea. But he momentarily stopped enjoying the beauty of the scene as all his past events that had led to the magnificent success of the missile project poured in like a flashback on his mind that eventually gave birth to The Path Unexplored.

Darkness has thrown its blanket on the buzzing Karachi harbour… narrates Dr Sivathanu to open the first chapter titled ‘A battle at high sea’ of The Path Unexplored in a flamboyant page-turning way to recollect the might of Indian missile that startled Pakistani naval patrols whose vessel was rattled into rumbles in the blink of eyes during Indo-Pak war. It was at sometime close to midnight, Pakistani navy’s destroyer vessel PNS Khaibar observed a bright light in the air approaching them. They assumed it as an attacking aircraft coming to drop bombs. Instead of dropping bombs, it rammed the vessel and it was a missile, the technology behind BrahMos which eventually turned out to be a combined force of the fury of Brahmaputra (India) and grace of Moskva River (Russia). Later in 1995, when the idea of BrahMos was crystallised, Dr Sivathanu was offered to be CEO&MD of the JV company BramMos Aerospace by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Many of his well wishers including bureaucrats opined that the JV with Russia could not be a success and suggested him not to take the responsibility. Above all, Dr Sivathanu was fearless to take up the mission as long as great visionaries like Dr Vikram Sarabhai, Prof Satish Dhawan and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam were by his side. That gave him the determination to face the challenges that might come while crafting BrahMos.

The Path Unexplored throws light on how under strict sanctions from developed nations after the nuclear explosions, India made itself rise high and developed technologies in-house to cater for all its requirements thus the sanctions became a blessing in disguise for the country. As a result, India proved the world that ‘technology denied is technology gained’. This book reveals the uniqueness of BrahMos systems – its one missile and multiple targets approach, which makes BrahMos the world’s only universal supersonic cruise missile capable to launch from land, sea and air. Also, this book narrates about the initiative taken by BrahMos to have the first missile industry consortium with a perfect blend of public-private partnership that has never been achieved before.

–Jyaneswar Laishram

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