India launches long range missile, joins elite club of nuclear nations


India has joined the elite club of nuclear nations, a band of warhead-toting powers that boasts long range intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities. The country announced the “flawless” launch of an Agni-V missile from an island off the east coast. The Agni-V has a range of 5,000 km and took 20 minutes to reach its target in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia.

“It was a perfect launch. It met all the test parameters and hit its pre-determined target,” SP Das, test range director, told the BBC.

With the successful firing of this long range missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, India has entered the same league as the U.S., Russia, China, France and Britain. It comes at the same time as the country nears the completion of a nuclear submarine, Al Jazeera reports. India claims that its nuclear program is meant solely to deter attacks.

The new missile puts Beijing and Shanghai, two of China’s major urban centres, within range of an Indian nuclear strike for the first time. As one New Delhi-based defence expert told the Wall Street Journal, this puts India on “deterrence parity” with its regional rival. Since Beijing can significantly outspend India on defence, the south Asian country looks to a strong nuclear program as an important deterrent to the possibility of war.

The Chinese media was dismissive of the missile launch. The state-run Global Times wrote that “India should be clear that China’s nuclear power is stronger and more reliable. For the foreseeable future, India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China.”

The Agni-V missile, as the BBC reports, is 17.5 metres tall, weighs 50 tons when it is launched and costs about US$480 million.

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India launches long range missile, joins elite club of nuclear nations

  1. When India blew up a nuclear device in the desert of Rajasthan in 1976, it propelled nuclear weaponry out of the Cold War and into the free-for-all that’s much of the Third World. 

    That was really the point of the test anyway: to warn the U.S., the Soviet Union and China that India and the rest of the non-aligned nations were becoming a force to be reckoned with.

    Just imagine if North Korea’s recent missile test had been “a perfect launch.” We wouldn’t be so restrained in our response. 

    Because India’s leadership is believed to be relatively stable, compared to North Korean’s, India’s firing of an ICBM elicited only a yawn from Beijing. 

    • Yeah. That’s probably why the major powers have’nt been screaming bloody murder about it all. While the US has been having a regular shitfest over Iran and North Korea, they don’t see just how critical this new long range missle is in terms of the jiggerydoo that India’s cooked up with it. Now every country within the AGNI-V’s range, especially China, has to re-consider their overall responses to this new ‘deterrance parity’ strategy. I just don’t see any good coming from it.

      • There is no need for good to come of it. China has enough nuclear power to wipe out most of the world. They already have most of the world by the cojones with cheap industry. It will still take India a while to get anywhere near that level of power. With pakistan and china as immediate neighbours, not to mention the whole bl**dy middle eastern BS close by, it is good to have something other than people to throw at them if it ever comes to that. And now there are even less chances of that happening.

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