The Defence Research and Development Organisation of India successfully test-fired its next-generation nuclear-capable Agni Prime missile from a defence base off the Odisha coast.
The nuclear-capable missile, which met all mission objectives with a high level of accuracy, was test-fired from a mobile launcher off the Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha at 10.55 am. Its trajectory was monitored by sophisticated tracking radars and telemetry along the coastline, DRDO said in a statement.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the DRDO for the successful test, noting that the missile followed textbook trajectory, meeting all mission objectives with a high level of accuracy.
“Congratulations to @DRDO_India for the maiden successful flight test of Agni P advanced variant of Agni class of missiles. I compliment the efforts of the team behind this mission,” Singh tweeted.
Agni Prime, or simply Agni-P, is seen as a successor for Agni-I and Agni-II missiles that are already in operational service of the Strategic Forces Command.
The sleek new missile has significant upgrades in the form of the composite motor casing, manoeuvrable re-entry vehicle as well as better propellants, and navigation and guidance systems.
The surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile, developed by the DRDO, can cover 1,000-2,000 kilometres.
It is the seventh missile developed or under development as part of the Agni series.
While Agni-I has a range of 700–1,200 km, Agni-II covers distances between 2,000 and 3,500 km. All subsequent missiles from the series – Agni-III with a range of 3,000–5,000 km, Agni-IV at 3,500–4,000 km and Agni-V at 5,000–8,000 km – are operational.
Agni-VI, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 11,000–12,000 km, is under development.
Thus, advanced variant Agni-P plugs the range gap between Agni-I and Agni-II.
Like others of its kind, Agni-P can be launched using mobile launchers. The successful testing comes at a time when India is witnessing increased tensions with China.
Indian defence forces are looking to quickly bolster their capabilities, with strategic weapons such as ballistic missiles being seen as a key component of conflict deterrence.
Last year, the border tensions escalated into the skirmish in eastern Ladakh and the June 2020 violent face-off in the Galwan Valley, leading to massive armed mobilisation on both sides. In February 2019, India and Pakistan were involved in a border skirmish involving cross-border air strikes and exchanges of gunfire in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.