India Missile Test Puts Nuke ICBM in Range of Influence

Cheryl Sanders
January 19, 2018

India is a step away from gate-crashing into the super-exclusive club of countries with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with the successful "first pre-induction trial" of Agni-V that, with a range of over 5,000km, brings all of Asia, and thus China, within its nuclear strike capability.

Citing Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Indian Express reported that the test-fire of the surface-to-surface missile, Agni-V, was conducted off a test range from an island in Odisha, an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal.

It said the launch was "a major boost to the defense capabilities" of India. This was the fifth test of the missile and the third consecutive trial from canister on a road mobile launcher.

Agni-5's range is also less than half that of North Korea's recent launches and nobody expects it to lob missiles at any of those locations, because it's a stable and peaceful democracy that generally observes global laws.

The firing of the Agni-5 comes months after the official end of a standoff between China and India over a remote sliver of land in the Himalayas, a squabble that lasted for more than two months and that was one of the worst border disputes between the countries in 30 years.

Nitin A. Gokhale, an independent national security analyst in New Delhi, said India did not previously have a missile capable of hitting "high-value targets" in China.

"We have successfully launched nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V today", the local daily cited Sitharman as saying.

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