New Delhi: India Wednesday successfully test-fired the recently inducted Agni-V, the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), amid rising tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The successful launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which has a range of over 5,000 km, was done at approximately 7:50 pm from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
This is the first user launch of the missile, which was last tested in 2018, before it got inducted into the Strategic Forces Command that looks after India’s nuclear arsenal.
In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the successful test of Agni-V “is in line with India’s stated policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’”.
The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy, the ministry said.
However, defence sources said the range is much more than the officially stated figure of 5,000 km.
India joins club of countries with ICBMs
Agni-V has the capability to reach almost every part of China, sources had said in 2018, when the missile was tested last by its developer, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Interestingly, the DRDO is also working on a longer-range version of the Agni series of missiles.
The launch Wednesday comes just months after India also test-fired the Agni Prime, the next generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile in the nuclear arsenal.
While the Agni Prime and the rest of the Agni series is focussed primarily on Pakistan, the Agni-V is a much larger strategic weapon, capable of striking at much longer ranges.
With Agni-V, India has joined an exclusive club of countries, with the others being China, US, Russia, Britain and France, to have ICBMs.
A DRDO official had in 2018 said that Agni-V is programmed in a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it will turn towards Earth to continue its journey towards the intended target with increased speed due to the attraction of the Earth’s gravitational pull.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)