India to test-fire China-centric Agni-V missile

India will on Sunday test-fire the 5,000 km-plus range Agni-V missile for the second time from Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast, a step towards boosting the country’s nuclear deterrence against China.

The missile — first tested in April 2012 — will arm India with the capability of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China.

The latest launch comes at a time when repeated Chinese incursions have led to deteriorating bilateral military ties.

India has cancelled air force chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne’s proposed visit to China, signalling its reluctance to go into “diplomatic overdrive” to engage Beijing in the wake of increased Chinese aggression, reported by HT on September 1.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is expected to conduct at least three more tests before declaring the 17-metre long ballistic missile operational and ready for being inducted into the military, sources said. That may take two to three years.

Agni’s existing variants can hit targets at ranges of 700 km to 3,500 km.

 

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