India test-fires Agni-V missile with over 5000-km strike range


India has been developing its nuclear and missile systems in recent years amid increasing strategic competition with China.

India on Thursday successfully tested its long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-5, for its full range from Dr Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. It described the launch as "a major boost to the defense capabilities" of India.

The 5000 kilometer range Agni-V can can reach targets as far as Beijing.

The newspaper said Indian authorities intend to carry another Agni-5 test sometimes within the year so that India may "gate-crash into the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs ... like the U.S., Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom".

India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2,000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with with 2,500 km to more than 3500 km range.

The missile, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, was first test-fired on 19 April 2012 and since then it has been tested three times more on 15 September 2013, 31 January 2015, and on 26 December 2016.

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The missile can be deployed from mobile launchers and can even be hidden in a railway wagon.

"We have successfully launched nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-V today".

The statement made no mention of China. Du added that "the Indian government had deliberately downplayed the missile's capability in order to avoid causing concern to other countries", resulting in China raising more concerns over the issue. That launch had drawn the ire of both China and Pakistan.

The country has 120-130 nuclear warheads in its stockpile, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

The bloody territorial dispute is believed to be an excuse for India to build up its missile systems.