Agni v launched from a mobile truck
INDIA on Saturday (January 31) succeeded for the first time in using a mobile launcher to test-fire a long-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead deep inside rival China.
Although Saturday’s launch was the third test of the Agni V missile, it was the first time the weapon had been fired from a so-called canister mounted on a truck rather than from a concrete launchpad used in previous trials.
The new delivery mechanism gives the armed forces increased operational flexibility.
“Successful test-firing of Agni V from a canister makes the missile a prized asset for our forces,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter after the test on an island off the eastern state of Orissa.
The Agni V - developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation - was first tested in April 2012.
Analysts say the Agni V has the range to strike any target on the Chinese mainland, including military installations in the far northeast.
India sees the rocket, which has a range of 5,000 kilometres, as a key boost to its regional power aspirations and one that narrows - albeit slightly - the huge gap with China’s missile systems.
Agni, meaning “fire” in Sanskrit, is the name given to a series of rockets India developed as part of a guided missile development project launched in 1983.
While the shorter-range Agni I and II were mainly developed with traditional rival Pakistan in mind, analysts say later versions with a longer range reflect the shift in India’s focus towards China.