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Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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With an Eye on China, India Plans to Launch Nuclear Capable Agni-V Missile

India set to Launch Nuclear Capable Agni-V Missile.

(Photo : Getty Images) To counter China's military build up, India is reportedly getting ready to test its indigenous nuclear-capable missile Agni-V later this month or early next year.

With an eye on China, India is gearing up to test its indigenous intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The nuclear capable missile that has been named as Agni-V can strike as far as northern China. The impending test would be the missile's fourth test and will be conducted in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.

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One of the sources from the Indian defense force claimed that the government is prepared to launch the ballistic missile in the last week of December or early next year. However, "There were some minor technical snags in Agni-V, which required tweaking of its internal battery and electronic configurations after its last test in January 2015."

Agni-V's first test was conducted in an "open configuration" in April 2012, while second and third tests were in 2013 and 2015, respectively.    

After the induction of Agni-V in the Indian army, India will join the exclusive club of countries with ICBMs, or missiles that strike at a range of between 5,000 and 5,500 kilometers. The US, Russia, China, France, and the UK are other countries in this super exclusive club.

Agni-V is a part of the Agni missile family and is preceded by four ballistic missiles, namely, Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III, and Agni-IV. The Agni-I, Agni-II, and Agni-III missiles are targeted against India's regional rival Pakistan.        

Agni-IV and Agni V, on other hand, are aimed at increasing India's military deterrence against China. However, several defense experts argued that China is still far ahead of India in terms of missile and nuclear arsenals.      

A strong view also exists among many analysts that India may not go overboard in demonstrating its military strength while its bid to join the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) still hangs in balance. India's bid to join the 48-member elite nuclear club was vetoed by China earlier this year.

Beijing, though, categorically mentioned earlier this week that its stance on the contagious NSG issue still remains unchanged. This means that China in the future will again thwart any effort by New Delhi to join the elite nuclear club.    

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