India on Thursday successfully carried out night trials of the Agni-5 nuclear-capable ballistic missile. It can hit targets beyond 5,000 kilometres.
According to defence sources, the test was carried out to validate new technology and equipment on the missile, which is now lighter than before. “The trial has proved the capability to enhance the range of the Agni-5 missile, if required,” a source said. Sources said the missile has been made lighter by adding lighter composite material which will enable the missile to go longer ranges.
The launch was carried out at approximately 5: 30 pm from APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. The night trial came just a week after the India-China border clash.
India had launched the last Agni-5test in October 2021. Last year, when India conducted the test of Agni-V, China raised objections, citing the UNSC Resolution 1172 of 1998. The resolution stated that both India and Pakistan should stop testing nuclear weapons in order to prevent an arms race. In return, the UN had offered to help in settlement of the Kashmir issue.
Aware of the concerns of a nuclear arms race, the defence ministry on Thursday said that the successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’.
The Agni-V is a nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India. While India has stated that the missile has a range of 5,000-5,500 km, China alleges that it has a range of 8,000 and that India is downplaying ithe missiles capabilities to avoid concerns among other nations.
The missile uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine. The Agni-V has the potential to be developed as a Multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle, which means each missile will be able to carry 2-10 separate nuclear warheads.