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.