Twenty years after the Pokhran-II underground nuclear tests, India has commenced the process to induct its first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) on Friday.
Defence officials said that several systems and subsystems associated with the over 5,000 kilometer-range missile are being handed over to the new Agni-V unit raised under the SFC. Once fully inducted, the inter-continental ballistic missile will have the capability to bring the whole of Asia and China as well as parts of Europe and Africa within its nuclear strike envelope.
Once fully-inducted, India will join the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs like the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
The nearly 50-tonne Agni-V designed to carry a 1.5-tonne nuclear warhead has been tested five times earlier. The missile was tested in an 'open configuration' in April 2012 and September 2013, while it was test-fired from hermetically sealed canisters mounted on transport-cum tilting launcher trucks in January 2015 and December 2016. Earlier on January this year the pre-induction triaL OF Agni-V from a test range off Odisha coast.
India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500km range.