Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

The Mystery Surrounding Agni 5's Range

The Mystery Surrounding Agni 5's Range

India's long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) "Agni-V" will be inducted into the Tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC) "within this year" after it undergoes one more pre-induction trial.

The newspaper said Indian authorities intend to carry another Agni-5 test sometimes within the year so that may "gate-crash into the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs ... like the U.S., Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom".

While the 17-metre long Agni-V was tested in an "open configuration" in April 2012 and September 2013, the third and fourth tests in January 2015 and December 2016 saw it being fired from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a Tatra launcher truck. The Federation of American Scientists estimates India has 120 to 130 nuclear weapons in its inventory, placing it among the nine countries worldwide known to possess such weapons.

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Apart from Agni-5, India owns Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-II with 2000 km range, Agni-3 with 2,500 km and Agni-4 to more than 3,500 range.

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India has successfully tested a surface-to-surface ballistic missile. Sparked by China's decision in June to construct a road in the Doklam Plateau, a region claimed by both Beijing and the tiny Indian ally Bhutan, the friction lasted months and prompted both China and India to beef up the troop presence there.

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Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies nuclear proliferation, was quoted by CNN as saying that Thursday's test was not a sign of any "new capability" for the missile. On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that troops from the two countries once again "traded gunfire" in the disputed region of Kashmir.

New Delhi hope the test will successfully confirm their ability to fire a ICBM more than 5,000 km (3,100 miles).

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