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  Opinion   Edit  28 Dec 2016  A stronger deterrent

A stronger deterrent

Published : Dec 28, 2016, 1:03 am IST
Updated : Dec 28, 2016, 6:32 am IST

This test was also the first after India acceded to the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Agni 5 missile
 Agni 5 missile

The successful test-firing on Monday of the indigenous nuclear-capable Agni-V intermediate range ballistic missile, which can fly 5,000 km and carry a nuclear payload of 1,000 kg, adds credibility to India’s nuclear deterrent. It also enhances the country’s strategic options.

This test was also the first after India acceded to the Missile Technology Control Regime. The event marks the international acceptance of India’s ability to mate the nuclear weapon with the delivery system with the reach of a certain range.

Given its ability, Agni-V can hit targets not just in the country’s neighbourhood but all parts of Asia. It is not Pakistan or China-specific, though it can reach all parts of China. For Pakistan, the range of Agni-I and Agni-II were sufficient.

Agni-V was first successfully tested in 2012 and then again in 2013. The latest test helps to confirm its reliability. This missile, being canister-fired as was shown in the test, will have enhanced mobility, specially since it is solid-fuel propelled. This last feature reduces its preparation time for firing.

India’s doctrine of no-first use of nuclear weapons must have sufficient retaliation built into it in order to deter a potential adversary from launching a nuclear strike. The Agni-V secures that objective. Nevertheless, India now needs to step up its acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine from which Agni-V can be launched. That will complete the nuclear triad — the ability to launch a nuclear weapon’s delivery from the air, land and sea and make the deterrent complete in all senses of the term.

Tags: agni-v, nuclear, nuclear weapon