Agni 5, India’s most lethal nuclear-capable missile was successfully test-fired at Kalam Island off Odisha coast. The surface-to-surface intercontinental missile can hit targets over 5,000km away, a fact that has neighbouring China worried.
WHY CHINA IS ANXIOUS OVER AGNI 5
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. After some few more trials, Agni 5 will be inducted into the services.
Developed by the the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 17-metre long missile can carry a warhead of 1000kg.
Being a ballistic missile, Agni 5 can not be detected by most of radar systems presently in use by defence forces across the globe.
Agni 5, which weighs about 50 tonnes, can target almost entire China and Pakistan. It can even reach targets in Europe.
Reports say that India has 110-120 nuclear-capable missiles in its armoury. Missiles such as Pritvi 2 (350km), Agni 1 (700km), Agni 2 (2000km) and Agni 3 (3000km) have already been inducted into country’s defence system.
Pakistan has about 130-140 nuclear-capable missiles which include Shaheen and Ghauri series of missiles which Islamabad has developed with the help of China and North Korea. Pakistan, however, is yet to add inter-continental missiles to its arsenal.
On the other hand, China has a huge stock of nearly 250 nuclear missiles, including the (DongFeng) DF series. Unconfirmed reports say the DF 31A missile has the capability of striking targets over 10,000km.
The Agni 5 is the most advanced version of the indigenously built Agni series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) that started in the 1960s and was once overseen by late President APJ Abdul Kalam.
India joined the elite club of countries like US, Russia, the UK, France and China, which boast Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capabilities, when it first tested the Agni-V in 2012.
Agni 5’s test launch is the first such missile test since India joined 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in July, 2016. MTCR membership enabled India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia.
DRDO is also working on Agni 6, which will have far more lethal strirking capabilities than its predecessor.