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Iran Press TV

India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile: New Delhi

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 18, 2018 03:27PM

India says it has successfully test-fired its longest-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a move that could be perceived as provocative by nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and China.

According to a statement released by the Indian Defense Ministry, the three-stage, 17-meter-long, two-meter-wide Agni-5 ICBM was fired from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha at around 9:53 a.m. local time on Thursday (0423 GMT).

The statement said that the home-grown missile had a strike range of 5,000 kilometers, adding that it was the most potent and had the longest range in its class in the country. It also described the launch as "a major boost to the defense capabilities of" India.

The Agni-5, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes, is a fire-and-forget missile, meaning that once fired it cannot be stopped, except by an interceptor missile that is only in possession of a few countries, including the US and Russia.

According to some unnamed military sources, the sophisticated missile, which can also be deployed on mobile launchers, traveled for 19 minutes and covered 4,900 kilometers before it hit the intended target, whose whereabouts are yet to be disclosed.

The Agni-5 was reportedly last tested on December 26, 2016. The first two successful flights of Agni-5 in 2012 and 2013 were in open configuration. India currently has in its armory of Agni (or fire) series, Agni-1 with a 700-kilometer range, Agni-2 with a 2,000-kilometer range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with a range varying from 2,500 to more than 3,500 kilometers.

The Agni family was first developed as part of a program that commenced in the 1980s.

It is said that the advanced ICBM, if required, can also be employed to destroy satellites as an anti-satellite weapon and can also be used to put Indian satellites into orbit in hostile circumstances.

New Delhi claims that it faces a purported twin threat from both arch foe Pakistan, which is reportedly developing a nuclear and missile program of its own, as well as China, with which a long-running dispute over the Himalayan border has erupted in recent years.

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