India launches long-range missile on test flight
From Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
April 19, 2012 — Updated 0317 GMT (1117 HKT)
- The missile is called Agni, which means “fire” in Hindi
- “It’s the most advanced missile so far,” official says
- It took off Thursday morning, according to the Indian military
New Delhi (CNN) — India on Thursday launched the maiden test flight of its longest-range nuclear-capable missile, which can travel more than 5,000 kilometers, the Indian military said.
The Agni V rocket, with a range the equivalent of 3,100 miles, took off at 8:05 a.m. local time (10.35 p.m. Wednesday ET), according to the military.
Ravi Gupta, a spokesman for the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization, had said ahead of the launch that the Agni V was “the most advanced missile so far.”
In November, India successfully tested the fourth version of Agni, meaning “fire” in Hindi, with a range of 3,500 km. Built years earlier, Agni I could travel 700 km, according to Indian defense authorities.
India says that it pursues no aggressive designs and that its military program is based on building a credible minimum deterrent with a “no-first-use” policy.
“Our missiles are purely for deterrence,” said Gupta.
The flight of Agni V is a significant move to demonstrate India’s technological competence, Uday Bhaskar, a strategic expert, said earlier this week.
But the home-grown missile, he said, would undergo several tests more before it becomes fully operational.
A successful experiment, Bhaskar said, would bring India closer to the group of nations capable of building intercontinental missiles. Currently, the five permanent member nations of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France — are thought to have developed such technology, he said.
Today’s five most popular stories