In a remarkable turn of events, India successfully test-fired Agni-5 on December 15th, a nuclear-capable ballistic missile, off Odisha Coast amid China’s Spy ship movement in the Indian Ocean region. The Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile developed by India’s Defence Research and Developmental Organization (DRDO). Initially, defence sources claimed that it ranges from around 5,000 to 5,500 kilometres. On the contrary, Chinese researchers allege that the missile has a field much more than claimed by Indian defence establishments. China claims Agni-5 is capable of striking targets more than 7500 kilometres. However, with the latest launch on December 15th, 2022, the range of Agni-V has been increased to 7000 km. Considering the facts mentioned earlier, the missile can be a nightmare for India’s adversaries. China has conveyed several times that India intentionally underplays its capability to remain in the good eyes of western countries despite having missiles like Donfeng-41 ranging between 12,000-15,000 kilometres in its own portfolio.
This project is aimed at enhancing India’s nuclear deterrence against China. This test is of great importance as it came after Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The clash injured several soldiers on both sides, but no deaths were reported. Both sides obeyed the 1996 agreement on confidence-building measures in the military field along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas.
The test verified the effectiveness of the missile’s upgraded technology and hardware, making it more portable than before. The missile is now 20 per cent lighter because of the use of composite materials rather than steel material. With this successful launch, India has become a proud member of an elite nuclear club.
The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was the idea of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Dr Kalam dreamed of making India self-sufficient in the field of missile technology. The program is supposed to have 5 Missiles P-A-T-N-A, Prithvi, Agni, Trishul, Nag, and Akash. Agni V’s predecessors from Agni 1 to 4 have ranged from 700km to 3500 km and have been deployed already. India successfully carried out a similar test in October last year as well. Agni-5 is a locally developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile developed under IGMDP. It can’t be stopped without an interceptor missile.
After India launched an Agni-5 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, China voiced its disapproval, stating that India violated UNSC 1172, a resolution that was issued after India conducted 1998 nuclear tests. The United States remain mute on this development, taking India as an ally to counter Chinese aggression.