India is on a path to join the club of countries with Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The country’s first successful pre-induction trial of Agni-V with a range of over 5,000 km, brings all of Asia and China within its nuclear strike capability.
The missile is set to undergo one more pre-induction trial this year, before being inducted into the Agni-V regiment. The range of the missile is parts of Europe and Africa. After the missile is inducted into the Agni-V regiment, India will join the likes of US, UK, Russia, China and France.
Tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in its trial of the 17-metre Agni-V launched the missile from a canister atop the road-mobile launcher from the Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast at 9.53am. The three-stage missile zoomed to a height of over 600-km in its parabolic trajectory and then splashed down around 4,900-km away towards Australia in the Indian Ocean barely 19 minutes later.
The missile’s canister-launch version makes it deadlier because it gives the armed forces the requisite operational flexibility to swiftly transport and fire the missile from anywhere they want.
India has several other regiments of missiles but wants a credible strategic deterrent against an aggressive and expansionist China, which has a large arsenal of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. This long range Agni-V has been developed with China in mind.