India on Sunday successfully test-fired the Agni 5 — the country’s longest-range nuclear-capable missile which can cover more than 5,000km and deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China — for a second time from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.
Indigenously built by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, it took off at 8.50am. “DRDO scientists have made the country proud,” defence minister AK Antony said in a statement.
The missile was first tested in April 2012. Sources said the DRDO is expected to conduct at least three more tests over two to three years before it can be inducted into the military.
The long-range Agni 3 and 5 versions are seen as deterrents against China, and the latest launch comes at a time of repeated Chinese incursions. But India is nowhere close to countering China’s build-up of strategic missiles. Its Dong Feng-31 missile with a range of 14,000km can strike targets anywhere on the planet.
(With inputs from Rahul Singh)