India Launches Nuclear-capable Missile that Could Hit China, Europe: US Remains Silent
September 16, 2013
RT News & Al Jazeera America & Chidanand Rajghatta / Times of India
India has conducted a second test-firing of a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers. New Delhi hopes to challenge Beijing in the race for missile dominance in Asia. The first time India test-launched the rocket in 2012, the US praised India for its history of nonproliferation. This time, Washington remained noncommittal (a remarkable reversal from the strident US response whenever North Korea test-fires a missile or attempts to place a satellite in orbit).
India Boosts Arsenal with
Nuclear-Capable Missile Test
(September 15, 2013) -- India has conducted a second test firing of a nuclear-capable missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers. New Delhi is struggling to challenge Beijing in the race for missile dominance in Asia.
"The country has established ICBM capability with the successful second test," said Avinash Chander, a scientific advisor to Defense Minister AV Antony, adding that the next launch would be canister-based.
'Agni-V' long-range ballistic missiles are about 17 meters long, with a diameter of 2 meters and a launch weight of about 50 tons, The Indian Express reported. It can carry a nuclear warhead of over 1 ton.
The missile was test-fired from Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha. Missile scientist and 'Agni 5' chief designer V.G. Sekaran said the test was an "overwhelming success and showed the reliability and maturity of the sub-systems," the Hindu newspaper reported.
Only Russia, the US, China, France and Britain, reportedly along with Israel, which has never officially admitted to having an nuclear arsenal of its own, are believed to have such long-range weapons.
The three-stage solid propellant missile was first successfully tested in April last year. Agni-V boasts a state-of-the-art Micro Navigation System, enabling the missile to hit the target to within a few meters.
According to the spokesman for India’s Defence Research and Development Organization, Ravi Gupta, the missile will be included in the Indian Army’s arsenal by 2014-15. "It hit the target in a predefined trajectory. It met all the mission objectives," he said.
China has the world’s second-largest military budget behind the US, and is far ahead of India in nuclear weaponry, with intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching anywhere in India.
The Agni-V may be India's answer to China's nuclear buildup. Earlier versions of its missiles could reach only old Pakistan and western China.
Last year, China expanded its nuclear weapons arsenal, allegedly adding an estimated 10 warheads to its inventory. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China currently has some 250 nuclear missiles, while Pakistan holds between 100 and 120 missiles and India has between 90 and 110.
"We have always kept our nuclear capability at the lowest level commensurate with the need for national security," Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a briefing in Beijing in June. "China hopes the outside world does not make groundless speculation about China’s limited nuclear capability."
China, India and Pakistan appear to be the only countries currently expanding their nuclear arsenals.
The total number of nuclear missiles globally is estimated to have fallen from about 19,000 at the end of 2011 to about 17,265 warheads at the end of last year, thanks to the US and Russia reducing their stockpiles under bilateral arms control agreements, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said. Russia is believed to possess the largest inventory, with 8,500 warheads, just a little ahead of the 7,700 held by the US.
India Tests Nuclear-capable Missile
Al Jazeera America
(September 15, 2013) -- The 3,107-mile-range Agni-V missile can reach Beijing and much of Europe
India has successfully test-fired for a second time a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Beijing and much of Europe, bringing a step closer production of a weapon designed to strengthen its nuclear deterrent.
"The test was successful," Ravi Kumar Gupta, spokesman for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said on Sunday.
"It hit the target in a predefined trajectory. It met all the mission objectives."
A video distributed by the DRDO showed the Agni-V rocket blasting off from a forest clearing on an island off India's east coast state of Odisha.
The Agni-V is the most advanced version of the indigenously-built Agni, or Fire, series, part of a program that started in the 1960s.
Earlier versions could reach old rival Pakistan and western China.
India is trying to keep up with China's growing military strength and wants to have a viable deterrent against its larger nuclear-armed neighbor.
The two countries have generally warm relations, but they fought a brief Himalayan war in 1962 and a build up of conventional defenses along their disputed border is a source of tension.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads and developing short-range, tactical nuclear weapons, raising concern about an escalating South Asian arms race, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Thursday.
The think-tank said in a report that the race with Pakistan was increasing the risk of a nuclear exchange during a conventional conflict, perhaps sparked by an act of terrorism.
The Agni-V missile was first tested in April 2012. It is mostly domestically built and has a range of about 3,107 miles.
Only the UN Security Council permanent members - China, France, Russia the United States and Britain – along with Israel, are believed to have such long-range weapons.
Gupta said India was now ready to start a process of production and subsequent induction of the missile.
Agni V launch: US Refrains from Criticizing the Test, Praises India’s Non-proliferation Record
Chidanand Rajghatta / TNN
(April 20, 2012) -- WASHINGTON: Refraining from criticizing India for its Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile test, and instead praising New Delhi for its ''solid nonproliferation record,'' the Obama administration on Wednesday called on ''all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities.''
Administration officials repeated the same formulations on Thursday following the successful test, rejecting repeated attempts by some journalists to extract some criticism for what they perceived as India's transgression.
''We urged all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding their nuclear and missile capabilities,'' State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, referring to his statement a day earlier, and repeated that India is ''playing a significant role internationally on the issue (of non-proliferation).''
Must-knows about Agni V
The Hindustani Times
1. Agni-V is India's first long-range missile capable of reaching deep into China and as far as Europe.
2. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni V weighs 50-tonnes and is 17-metres (56 feet) high.
3. The surface-to-surface, three stage solid propellant missile is designed to deliver nuclear warheads of 1000 kg at a range of 5000 km.
4. The launch of the Indian-made Agni V, if successful, would be the crowning achievement of a missile programme developed primarily to counter any threat from China.
5. Only the UN Security Council permanent members -- China, France, Russia, the United States and Britain -- have such long-range weapons.
6. It was first tested in April 2012.
7. The DRDO is expected to conduct at least three more tests before declaring the ballistic missile operational and ready for being inducted into the military. That may take two to three years.
8. Agni-V is part of the Agni series of missiles developed by DRDO which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-II with 2,000 km, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range and Agni-IV with 4,000 km range.
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