After completing the acquisition and induction of the nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra from Russia on Wednesday, India will strengthen its strategic security further by testing the 5,000-kilometre-range Agni-5 missile around April 15.
The nuclear-capable missile will have Beijing within its reach and is designed to send a strong deterrent signal to China, which is expanding its India-centric missile and land forces capabilities in the Tibet and Xinjiang regions.
The 50-tonne and 17.5-meter-long three-stage missile with a 2-meter-diameter is solid fuelled with multiple independent targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV), which means one missile can target several areas simultaneously, with one tonne nuclear warhead.
Official sources said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was initially planning to time the Agni-5 test with the acquisition of the INS Chakra but that had to be postponed.
The INS Chakra was inducted into the navy on Wednesday, acquired on a 10-year lease for almost $1 billion (Rs 5,000 crore).
The Chakra cannot deliver nuclear warheads in its current configuration. It will carry torpedoes, land-attack cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles.
India will complete its nuclear triad (ability to launch strategic weapons from land, air and sea) only when it inducts the indigenous nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant, which will kick off sea trials this year. The Arihant will be equipped with K-15 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead up to 700 km.