There was a press conference this afternoon held by DRDO’s Dr VK Saraswat, Chief Controller R&D (Missiles & Strategic Systems) at which he announced that India would have a two-layered fully integrated ballistic missile defence system in place three years from now. This would arise from the full integration of the PAD and AAD systems through integrated trials that will begin this year of the endo and exo-atmospheric variants. Two tests (one simulated and the other with a live target) of the endo-atmospheric AAD happened recently and successfully. The first fully integrated test of the missiles and their subsystems will take place in June 2008, though this has already been reported before. About four trials each of the PAD and AAD will take place before the entire system is declared operational, hopefully by 2010.
Interestingly, Saraswat has revealed that the system has already been configured to intercept cruise missiles as well, though there is still a large amount of calibration work to be done before a credible test can be carried out towards demonstrating any interception of a cruise missile.
It was revealed today that the PAD/AAD interceptor is an independent surface-to-air missile programme that began in 1998. Significant scientific talent from the Akash, Prithvi and Trishul programmes were diverted towards the BMD system, and it has been a closely guarded system since then.
Post Script: More Agni-III tests in 2008, plus an interceptor against IC-range ballistic missiles, plus an Agni-IV test in 2009 (~ICBM range).