India successfully tested an ‘Agni-5’ long-range ICBM on Thursday, a cabinet minister said, which should bolster its deterrence against longtime rival China.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the missile was fired on Thursday from Abdul Kalam island in the eastern state of Odisha.
“The missile will add great defense value and strengthen national security to a greater extent,” Joshi tweeted, citing its range as 3,300 miles or more.
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Ahead of the test, Indian authorities issued a notification and declared the Bay of Bengal as a no-fly zone, Indian media reported, adding that its range covers almost the entirety of mainland China.
Fresh tensions have arisen between India and China following clashes between their army soldiers on December 9 along the disputed border in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that no Indian soldiers were seriously injured and troops from both sides withdrew from the area soon after. A statement from the Indian army on Monday said troops on both sides suffered minor injuries.
Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst, said this was the second user test by India’s Strategic Forces Command since it was introduced in 2018. The first test was carried out in 2021.
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Bedi said Indian authorities did not take notice of the reported presence of a Chinese spy ship in the region and went ahead with the test.
India has developed a family of medium-range ballistic missiles called “Agni”, which means “fire”. Agni missiles are long-range, nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.
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For decades, India and China have fiercely contested the line of effective control, a demarcation that separates Chinese and Indian territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. India and China fought a war across the border in 1962.