India test-fires Agni-5 missile with range of 5,000 km

India successfully test-fires Agni-5 missile with range of 5,000 km

The successful test-firing of the missile came in the midst of a lingering border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh

Representative image. Credit: PTI file photo

India on Wednesday conducted another test launch of its Agni V surface-to-surface ballistic missile even as its negotiation with China to resolve the 18-month-long military stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has hit an impasse.

The Agni V can carry nuclear warhead weighing up to 1100 kilograms and strike targets within a range of 5000 kilometers. A spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi said that the test-launch of the missile from A P J Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha has been successful.

The missile has given India capability to strike several cities in China, including the ones in the northern region of the communist country.

New Delhi, however, underlined that successful launch of the Agni V missile was in line with the policy of the Government of India to have “credible minimum deterrence” that underpinned its commitment to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’ of nuclear weapons.

The Agni V, like the other missiles of the same series, was designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) of the Government of India. It was tested in the past too, but the one from the A P J Abdul Kalam Island on Wednesday was the first user trial of the missile, which the tri-service Strategic Force Command, responsible for handling nuclear weapons, of late started inducting amid China’s growing aggression along its disputed boundary with India.

“The missile, which uses a three-stage solid fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement shortly after the test launch was conducted.

China had last month reacted to the media reports about the possibility of India test firing the Agni V missiles.

A spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government in Beijing had cited the United Nations Security Council resolution 1172 to question India’s programme to develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The UNSC resolution 1172, adopted in June 1998, had called up to cease development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

China already has in its arsenal missiles that can carry nuclear weapons and strike any part of India.

New Delhi has of late been concerned over China’s continued build-up along the entire stretch of  its disputed boundary with India. Pakistan also of late restarted flouting the ceasefire along its Line of Control (LoC) with India after a lull of few months. 

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