India test launches Agni-V long-range missile

 

The launch of the Agni-V missile on Thursday morning

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India has successfully launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile able to carry a nuclear warhead, officials say.

The Agni-V was launched from a site off India's east coast and took about 20 minutes to hit its target somewhere near Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

The missile has a range of more than 5,000km (3,100 miles), potentially bringing targets in China within range.

India said the launch was "flawless" and the missile had reached its target.

"The ships located in mid-range and at the target point have tracked the vehicle [missile] and witnessed the final event," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesman Ravi Gupta said.

With this, India joins an elite nuclear club of China, Russia, France, the US and UK which already have long-range missiles, although with a much greater range. Israel is also thought to possess them.

"It was a perfect launch. It met all the test parameters and hit its pre-determined target," SP Das, director of the test range, told the BBC. He confirmed the missile had flown more than 5,000km before reaching the target.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the scientists for the "successful launch" of the missile. It was launched from Wheeler Island off the coast of the eastern state of Orissa at 0807 local time (0237GMT) on Thursday.

Analysis

With the launch of locally-developed Agni-V, India has joined a small group of countries - up to now only the nuclear-armed powers - with inter-continental range ballistic missiles.

A successful test flight of the missile will strengthen India's nuclear deterrence once it comes into service by 2014-15.

With a range of more than 5,000km (3,100 miles), the Agni-V is capable of delivering a single 1.5-ton warhead deep inside nuclear rival China's territory.

"Today's launch represents another milestone in our quest for our security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science," Mr Singh said.

'Historic moment'

The BBC's Andrew North in Delhi says Indian officials deny it, but everyone believes the missile is mainly aimed at deterring China.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Liu Weimin, said his country was not threatened by the test.

"China and India are large developing nations. We are not competitors but partners," he said.

"We believe that both sides should cherish the hard-won good state of affairs at present, and work hard to uphold friendly strategic co-operation to promote joint development and make positive contributions towards maintaining peace and stability in the region."

Earlier, the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) said the test was "a historic moment for India and it shows that India has joined the club of the countries that own ballistic missiles", Associated Press reported.

CCTV listed some of the missile's shortcomings and said "it does not pose a threat in reality".

But the Agni-V will now in theory allow India to fire nuclear warheads at Beijing and Shanghai, defence analysts say.

It was only launched once officials were sure they had the best weather conditions - so this was as much a demonstration as a real test, to show India's rivals that it has this kind of capability, our correspondent says.

"Agni-V is to meet our present-day threat perceptions, which are determined by our defence forces and other agencies," DRDO spokesman Ravi Gupta told AFP news agency ahead of the launch.

"This is a deterrent to avoid wars and it is not country-specific," he said.

Analysts say the Agni (meaning "fire" in Hindi and Sanskrit) missile family is to be the cornerstone of India's missile-based nuclear deterrent.

The Agni-V is 17.5m tall, solid-fuelled, has three stages and a launch weight of 50 tons. It has cost more than 2.5bn rupees ($480m; £307m) to develop.

The missiles are among the country's most sophisticated weapons.

In 2010, India successfully test-fired Agni-II, an intermediate-range ballistic missile with a range of more than 2,000km (1,250 miles).

Agni V graphic
 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 491.

    Science and research are probably the only way to raise India's masses out of poverty. Countries like the UK are going to start repatriating the cheaper service industries, telephone help-desks initially then IT services. This type of home grown development will help ease the rest of the Indian population into the modern world.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 490.

    This is great news for everyone!

    The world is now a safer place.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 489.

    I would hope that this is not misread by neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and that India will benefit from the knowledge/skills from such a development BUT it must not be allowed to develop into nuclear weaponry.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 488.

    Indian farming companies have bought hundreds of thousands of hectares in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique, where they are growing rice, sugar cane, maize and lentils for their own domestic market back in India. India's home agricultural system is so chaotic, they have to"loot" impoverished east africa to feed their own people. Now that is the action of a benign state

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 487.

    Talking about money numbers & Aid is easy. But analysing the whole concept & having an elevated understanding is Different.
    Can you imagine a country sharing the most sensitive borders with countries like Extremist China & Unstable Pak, (where China frequently pinning it) without any strong Security Statement.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 486.

    467 Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells
    “So, who is China threatening? Apart from legitimate territorial disputes in the S China sea, she threatens no-one”
    It’s a little more complicated than that. China after a border dispute with Pakistan claims a part of Kashmir which India also claims.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 485.

    282 satz - UK companies will leave India when Indian companies leave the UK - at least we have a level playing field for doing business here. If India doesn't want our aid - then hand it back - we could maybe use it to help fund Trident replacement

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 484.

    Oh dear WMD stop stop them now ....
    but no such fuss in this case .... no .... we just send them millions in aid instead crazy

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 483.

    Many have raised the issue of UK aid in the face of India's spending on weapons and technology. India is one of the UK's closest allies and has a "special relationship" from being an ex-colony and from connections of the many resident British Indians. Currently the UK probably enjoys a colonial existence with India without the responsibilty and expense, and sharing the benefits in both countries.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 482.

    great example of how to decrease global amount of weapons of mass destructions etc..

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 481.

    Rather than moaning on the country who is taking money, We should ask the country who is giving aid and the people who doesn't oppose it.

    Obviously there is some business dealing between the countries behind the scenes.Matter of give and take.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 480.

    1. Iam indian but iam not proud of this crap.
    2.i have seen comments in this blog by lot of indians saying its national pride and crap. Its national pride if all so called educated people vote for good governance not just sit in home and comment.
    3.Yes- India do not need UK aid but India cannot survive without US or UK. But India need their outsourced work. If thats stopped India will be at knees.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 479.

    We should be able to expect immediately that the UN renew its call for India to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We should expect the Indian government to show sign of its sanity by agreeing to do so. Will we wait in vain again? Or will we have to listen to mealy-mouthed pundits and politicians making lame excuses as to why it won't happen?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 478.

    India’s parliament, the Lok Sabha, has 543 elected lawmakers. Approximately 40 per cent have criminal cases pending against them.Including murder and rape. Current election rules state that politicians may stand in elections or serve in elected positions while on trial or while appealing convictions. I average criminal case in India finishes 15 years after charges are initiated. Thats India!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 477.

    Each day that India diverts money into this sort of power project is another day that the infrastructure goes unattended, another day of poverty for millions. While a few Indian's become billionaires and millionaires the day will come when capitalism up sticks and moves on to another country. Will India have failed to fix the roof while the sun is shinning?

  • Comment number 476.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 475.

    On one hand I find it hard to believe, that any country would wast so much money Building a rocket as this one these days, The likely hood of it not being spotted and getting through modern air defense are pretty slim i would have thought. Any how, as history proves time and time again,in more ways than one, the weak are allways exploited, hence have big guns, be strong. Just a casual thought..

  • Comment number 474.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 473.

    Some many people are complaining of British aid to India. It will never equal to value that the East India company and GB siphoned out of India over centuries. Read some history please. If it hurts, then don't contribute.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 472.

    Jon, don't be naive. There are more people living in incredible poverty in India than the entire pop.of the UK. Place news articles in the wider context that they assume. You're typing on a computer and probably eat 3 meals a day, which is more than what can be said of many in India. A missile doesn't change everything. It's just proof that the Indian gov. also have some prioritizing to do.

 

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