The Agni-5 is a nuclear-capable missile with a 5000km range that can reach deep into China and potentially target major cities and military bases. Dinshaw Mistry, a University of Cincinnati Professor of International Affairs and Asian Studies, believes India’s new missile could test China’s defence capabilities. This recent missile test, conducted during a border dispute with China, has been interpreted as a show of strength and a warning from India.
“The Agni-5 went through a few development tests in the 2010s, and has undergone user trial tests in the last two years,” Professor Mistry told Express.co.uk.
Thus, the most recent test, a user trial, is essentially a continuation of the missile’s test series and confirms that India is on track to deploy a small number of such missiles in the coming years.
The Agni-5 missile has a range of about 5,000 kilometres, with future versions possibly having longer ranges.
“When launched from sites in central and southern India that are far from China’s borders and thus less vulnerable to Chinese strikes, the missile brings all of China within range.”
“In this sense, it slightly strengthens India’s deterrent against China,” he added.
“The Agni-5 will increase pressure on China’s missile defence system and influence China’s defence planning regarding missile defence diversification.”
India and China have had a long-running border dispute for more than eight decades.
The two countries share a 2,167-mile border, which has resulted in numerous standoffs and military clashes throughout history due to overlapping territorial claims and competing strategic interests.
For the first time in over four decades, the border dispute turned deadly in 2020, with a physical brawl in the Galwan Valley killing at least 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.
India’s Agni missile system is a collection of long-range, nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.
The Agni-II missile has a range of over 2,000 kilometres and can reach much of Western, Central, and Southern China.
The Agni programme is critical to India’s counter-attack strategy, especially against China, because it includes a variety of solid-propelled ballistic missiles with varying ranges and mobility options that increase their chances of survival during an attack.