India is set to conduct the first user trial of nuclear-capable intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V, reports New Indian Express.
The Strategic Forces Command of the Indian Army has started elaborate preparation at a defence facility off Odisha coast and the missile is likely to be flight-tested on 23 September.
Once inducted, the Agni-V will prove to be a game changer for India.
The long range of the Agni-V, reported to be around 5,000-8,000 km, enables India to bring all important Chinese cities, including Beijing, under threat.
With this missile inducted, India can respond to a Chinese nuclear attack with massive retaliation, as laid-out in the nuclear doctrine. Thus, the missile will play an important role in establishing the credibility of deterrence viz-à-viz China.
It should be noted that Agni-V was planned to be inducted in 2020 after the hat-trick pre-induction trials conducted in 2018. However, the process was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic that affected some important tests of the missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV).
The report also quoted defence sources as saying that the upcoming trial of Agni-V missile assumes importance as it may be equipped with the MIRV capable of carrying multiple warheads.
“For the first time, the indigenous MIRV technology was tested successfully in Agni P missile with the weapon delivering two manoeuvrable warheads at two separate locations. The MIRV capability of Agni-V will give India the much needed deterrence,” said the sources.