India successfully test fires Agni-V, joins top missile club

Agni V

China is far ahead of India in the missile race, with intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching anywhere in India. Currently, the longest-range Indian missile, the Agni-III, has a range of 3,500 kilometers (2,100 miles) and falls short of many major Chinese cities.

''At the moment there is a huge assymetry in China's favor,'' said C Uday Bhaskar, the former head of the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses. After it adds the missile to its arsenal, however, ''India's deterrent profile in the region would be appropriately burnished.''

Defense analyst Rahul Bedi said much needed to be done, noting that a government that is notoriously slow with defense decisions now needs to push forward with more tests, work out strategic doctrines, define targets, figure out manufacturing issues and how many missiles to build among a host of other issues.

''We need to build on today's success... to build in a very capable dissuasive deterrence capability,'' he said. ''But going back to past records I don't know if we can sustain it.''

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