India’s longest-range ballistic missile, Agni-V, will be inducted into the nuclear arsenal very soon, according to official sources. Agni-V is an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) with a range of over 5,000 km and can reach most parts of China. “It is a strategic asset which will act as a deterrent. We are at the fag end of the strategic project,” said an official with the Agni-V programme.
The official said the missile features the latest technologies for navigation and improved accuracy. Earlier variants of the Agni family of long-range missiles have already been deployed. Last month, the canisterised variant of the missile was successfully test-fired by the user, the Strategic Forces Command (SFC). A few more user trials are planned in the next few weeks. The Agni series of missiles constitute the backbone of India’s nuclear weapons delivery, which also includes the Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft. The submarine-based nuclear arsenal, which assures second strike capability in the face of the proclaimed No-First-Use policy, is taking shape. While one nuclear ballistic missile has been inducted, more submarines and longer range submarine-launched ballistic missiles are under various stages of development.