India today successfully test-fired the Agni-5, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile that can accurately strike targets up to 5,000 km away, in what is being seen as a strong message to China.
Agni-5, which broadly falls into the category of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile or ICBM, was launched from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha, at 7:50 pm.
The missile uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine and can strike targets with a very high degree of accuracy.
The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have “credible minimum deterrence” that underpins the commitment to “No First Use”.
The missile is the bedrock of India’s nuclear deterrent along with submarine-based nuclear missiles, which had not yet been tested to anywhere close to this range.
The first test of Agni-5 was conducted in 2012.
Agni-1 to 5 missiles are designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). At present, apart from the Agni-5, other Agni missiles that India has in its armoury are: Agni-1 with a 700-km range, Agni-2 with a 2,000-km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
In June, India test-fired the nuclear-capable Agni Prime ballistic missile – a more advanced version of the Agni class of missiles – from a location off the Odisha coast.