India tests long-range nuclear-capable missile

India has successfully test-fired its longest range nuclear-capable missile, the Agni-V.

This test confirms India’s status amongst the small group of countries with intercontinental missile capabilities.

Agni-V, with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers (3,107 miles), was developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The final tests were completed at DRDO’s range on Dr Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha.

“This was the fourth test of the Agni-5 missile and the second one from a canister on a Road Mobile Launcher,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement. “All the four missions have been successful.”

India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, congratulated the launch with a tweet. “Congratulations DRDO for successfully test firing Agni V. It will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities.”

India’s space, missile and other defence programs, along with a bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, is part of the country’s efforts to establish itself as a world power.

Only the USA, Russia, China, France and the UK have had intercontinental ballistic missiles previously. With the Agni-V missiles, which can reach as far as Beijing in China, India now joins that select club.

India has been building up its missile capabilities in light of potential military confrontations with its neighbours China and Pakistan. India has fought three wars with Pakistan and one with China, mainly over border and territory disputes.

The missile test prompted a sharp response from China, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is reported that China plans to question India’s ballistic missile development at an upcoming meeting.

“The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said.

Responding to China’s reaction External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said :

“India’s strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all other do the same. India’s strategic autonomy and growing engagement contributes to strategic stability.”