In­dia’s long-range mis­sile show­cased at Repub­lic Day pa­rade


While the In­dian me­dia usu­ally dis­sects the weapons plat­forms that China puts on dis­play dur­ing its cer­e­mo­nial days, the ta­bles turned this Repub­lic Day—the Chi­nese watched closely as the In­dian Government show­cased the Agni-V, the coun­try’s long-range nu­clear bal­lis­tic mis­sile, ca­pa­ble of hit­ting pretty much any tar­get in China. With a range of nearly 6,000-km and the ca­pac­ity to de­liver a 1.5-tonne nu­clear war­head, the Agni-V was a head-turner at this year’s Repub­lic Day pa­rade on Ra­j­path. Footage of the mis­sile trundling down the VVIP av­enue were flashed on Chi- nese state tele­vi­sion sta­tions, spark­ing al­most as much in­ter­est as the mis­sile did dur­ing its de­but—and so far only—test-fir­ing in April 2012. While the pre­cise range of the mis­sile re­mains clas­si­fied, there has been spec­u­la­tion—in­clud­ing by Chi­nese think-tanks, that the Ag­niV’s range could be in ex­cess of 8,000 km.

The Agni-V is likely to be tested once again this year be­fore be­ing of­fi­cially handed over to the coun­try’s Strate­gic Forces Com­mand, cur­rently headed by Vice Ad­mi­ral S.P.S. Cheema. The road-mo­bile mis­sile will be a step­ping stone to an in­tercon­ti­nen­tal weapon, should the government ever re­quire DRDO to quickly de­velop one. As far as the Ag­niV it­self is con­cerned, fu­ture tech­nolo­gies will in­clude mul­ti­ple in­de­pen­dent re-en­try ve­hi­cles (MIRVs) and an im­proved nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

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