- Agni-V successfully tested at Abdul Kalam Island, Odisha
- The Intercontinental surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a 5000 km range and employs a three-stage solid-fuelled engine
- Reports indicate China’s attempts at testing a hypersonic missile earlier this month.
In an attempt to oust the nuclear intimidation manifested by China, India successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Agni-V with a target range of 5000km. The missile was test-fired from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha and can reach nearly all parts of the Chinese mainland. Testing of the Agni-V missile is aligned with India’s policy to possess ‘’credible minimum deterrence’’ that encourages the commitment to ‘’No First Use’’.
Agni-V would give a significant boost to India’s military capabilities as stated by the Defence Ministry. Sources reported to the PTI saying that this was the first user trial ensuring that the northernmost part of China is under our striking range. The missile operates on a three-stage solid-fuelled engine and has a high degree of efficiency when striking targets.
Though this ballistic missile, which stands 17-metre tall, had been tested several times prior to this, but this was the first time it was tested at night. Local media believed that the timing was intentional to signal Beijing. The first test of Agni-V was conducted in 2012.
Border tensions between India and China have risen exponentially since 20 Indian soldiers died amid clashes at the disputed Himalayan Border in Galwan, June 2020. The nuclear-equipped neighbours since then have deployed multiple troops to safeguard their territories.
India has strengthened defence alliances with western countries including the Quad alliance with the United States, Jaan and Australia. New Delhi is one of the primary buyers of Russian military hardware and ordered Moscow’s S-400 missile notwithstanding the threat of US sanctions over the $4.5 billion deal.
According to the report of The Financial Times, China tested a hypersonic missile last month which circled the Earth at a low orbit ahead of descending towards and missing its target. The aforementioned report was denied by Beijing stating that they were carrying out a routine test for a reusable space vehicle. Hypersonic missiles fly at lower altitudes and are comparatively harder to detect than ballistic missiles. Also, they are more responsive and can reach their targets in a shorter period.
Other countries like the US, Russia and North Korea have not hesitated from testing hypersonic missiles. Reports suggest several other countries, including India are in the process of developing it.
If we compare China’s Deng Fong 4 (DF-4) to India’s Agni-V, in terms of striking capacities, then the DF-4 imitates the range of Agni-V and has a radius of 4,400-5,500 km. However, Chia’s Dong Feng 5 (DF-5) with a range of 13,000km is the longest range operational missile.
The Agni-V missile is natively developed by the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation). It bears the capacity of carrying a nuclear warhead weighing 1.5 tonnes.