The successful test launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Agni V by India has sent shivers around the world. While the democratic world has nothing to fear with the successful launch of the mighty ICBM, China has much to quiver about. Agni V covers all of China, and if need be, India will be able to blow the Communist nation up in smoke rather spectacularly – as a last resort, of course. It is for this very reason that the successful test launch of Agni V has garnered so much global attention. Media publications and organisations from around the world have covered the story because it is so significant, given the tensions soaring between New Delhi and Beijing.
Global media publications like Arab News, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Nikkei Asia and others made it a point to mention how the successful launch of the Agni V ICBM was a stern signal to China. In its report, Nikkei Asia said, “…India has conducted several tests of the Agni-5 previously, but say the latest launch should be read in the context of the failure of the Oct. 10 India-China military talks to resolve the two countries’ 17-month border standoff in eastern Ladakh.”
The Associated Press, meanwhile, stated, “India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighbouring Pakistan, its arch-rival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947. India has been developing its medium- and long-range missile systems with and without nuclear warheads since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country’s defence capabilities.”
Agni V: Know About India’s Formidable ICBM
Agni V has been successfully tested several times before too. Agni-V missile has many advantages over its predecessors, over and above the exceeded range of the missile, it is also a solid-fuelled missile. Solid fuelled missiles are easy to transport and can be quickly readied for a launch as compared to a liquid-fuelled one. With Agni V, India has now mated the missiles with nuclear warheads before loading them into mobile launchers.
All Agni V missiles will have nuclear warheads pre-mated in the production stages. It is different from the earlier Agni-1 to Agni-IV systems which had to be mated with nuclear warheads before launch. The previous three tests of the Agni V have been conducted using the canisterised system. Canisterisation allows the missile to be always ready and greatly reduces the efforts needed in camouflaging. Canisterisation also allows greater mobility of the missile system and will prove helpful in moving the missile through the railroad network.
According to a Chinese researcher at PLA Academy of Military Sciences, Du Wenlong, the Agni V missile has an effective range of around 8,000 kilometres. The Indian officials too have downplayed the operational range to 5,000 km and have remained tight-lipped about the full capacity of the missile. The latest testing of Agni V has proved that it is efficient and precise and will provide the much-needed nuclear deterrence against China.
The Chinese have always been spooked by Agni V and have severely doubted the Indian Government’s claims that the ICBM has a range of 5,000 kilometres alone. Now, by testing the missile at a time when China is refusing to resolve the border standoff in Eastern Ladakh, India is really sending a message to Beijing that it can strike any location it wants to within China. The Agni V missile system will also feature Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) in the times to come. MIRVs will be used to carry and target 2-10 separate nuclear warheads. This ensures a credible second-strike capability even with fewer missiles.
It is not surprising to see global media following the story of India’s Agni V launch at such a large scale. It is truly a big development, and China is the sole target of this test.