India successfully test fires Agni-V, joins top missile club
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The test-fire, which was originally scheduled to be held yesterday, had to be deferred at the last moment for safety reasons due to bad weather marked by rains and heavy lightning.
New Delhi's deterrence capability will now be further strengthened and it will push its case for having a greater say at multilateral fora.
India has at present in its armoury of Agni series, Agni 1 with 700 km range, Agni 2 with 2,000 km range, Agni 3 and Agni 4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
Hailing the successful launch of the indigenously developed missile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it represents another milestone in India's quest to add to its security preparedness.
Defence Minister A K Antony described the maiden test flight of Agni-V as an "immaculate success" and a "major milestone".
"The nation stands tall today. We have joined the elite club of nations (to possess the ICBM capability)," Antony told Saraswat on phone after the test flight of the missile was declared successful.
"This launch has given a message to the entire world that India has the capability to design, develop, build and manufacture missiles of this class, and we are today a missile power," Saraswat said.
"We are going to conduct two more tests and that will be validation tests..., and then the production of this system will start. It is going to take an year maximum," he said. Saraswat said that he expected the missile to be inducted into the armed forces in the next two years.
"The missile achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve in this mission. This missile from the prime board to launch pad has happened in about three years," the missile's Programme Director Avinash Chandra said.
The test-firing of Agni-V demonstrated giant strides taken by India in its integrated missile development programme, he said.