On Thursday morning, 18th January India test-fired its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This was the final operational configuration from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast, taking us one step closer to the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).
"We have successfully launched nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V today," Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman told ANI.
The missile was last tested on December 26, 2016, when it was quoted as the fourth and final experimental test of the three-stage missile. But the 50-tonne missile still needs a few more user-trials before it is produced in adequate numbers.
The 17-metre long Agni-V has been earlier tested in April 2012, September 2013, January 2015 and December 2016.
The nuclear-capable Agni-V missile can reach the northern-most parts of China with a strike range of over 5,000-km. The missile's canister-launch version gives the armed forces flexibility to transport and fire the missile from anywhere.
Once the missile is inducted, India will join the ICBM (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) club alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.
Apart from the shorter-range Prithvi and Dhanush missiles, the SFC has also introduced Agni-I, Agni-II and Agni-III missiles. While these missiles are mostly aimed towards Pakistan, the Agni-IV and Agni-V are specifically meant for clashes against China.