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India test-fires Agni-V ballistic missile, northernmost China within range

New Delhi: India on Thursday successfully test-fired nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V that can strike targets at ranges up to 5,000 km, marking a significant boost to the country’s strategic deterrence, people familiar with the development said.

The test-firing of the missile from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast came amid India’s lingering border row with China.

The Agni-V project is aimed at boosting India’s nuclear deterrence against China which is known to have missiles like Dongfeng-41 having ranges between 12,000-15,000 km.

Agni-V can bring almost the entire Asia including the northernmost part of China as well as some regions in Europe under its striking range.

The Agni 1 to 4 missiles have ranges from 700 km to 3,500 km and they have already been deployed.

The Agni-V missile has been successfully test-fired, two people familiar with the matter said. There is no official word on the night trials of the missile.

The people cited above said the test validated a number of critical aspects of the weapon. India carried out a similar test of the missile in October last year as well.

The successful test firing of the missile paves way for its induction into the Strategic Forces Command that takes care of India’s strategic assets, the people cited above said.

The missile has a very high degree of accuracy to hit targets. It has a height of 17 metres and it is capable of carrying a 1.5-tonne warhead.

In June, India successfully carried out a night launch of the nuclear-capable Agni-4 ballistic missile, in a boost to India’s military capabilities.

Following the test, the defence ministry had said that it reaffirmed India’s policy of having a ‘credible minimum deterrence capability.”

India has been steadily enhancing its overall military might in the last couple of years. It has carried out successful tests of a number of missiles during the period.

In May, the extended range version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was test-fired from a Sukhoi fighter jet.

It was the first launch of the extended range version of the BrahMos missile from a Su-30MKI aircraft.

An anti-ship version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired jointly by the Indian Navy and the Andaman and Nicobar Command in April.

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