After 20 years of Pokhran-II underground nuclear tests, India has begun the processing of induction of the country’s first inter-continental ballistic missile – Agni-V into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) on Friday (May 11).

Giving a major booster to the defence wing, India has kicked off the procedure to induct the country’s first inter-continental ballistic missile Agni-V into the SFC, exactly 20 years after five underground nuclear tests were conducted at Pokhran-II under ‘Operation Shakti’. On Friday, the defence wing administrators expressed that “several systems and subsystems” associated with the over 5,000-km-range missile are under strike range and “are being handed over” to the new Agni-V unit raised under the SFC. The inter-continental ballistic missile Agni-V’s range covers up the whole of China and most parts of the European and African continents under its strike range.

As per the defence department, the second pre-induction trial of Agni-V will soon be conducted and if the tests turn out to be successful like the previous ones, the missile will be shifted to a strategic base. The upcoming test session will be the second test this year after the first one that was made on January 18, 2018. However, after the development of Agni-V had begun in 2012, the missile was tested in an ‘open configuration’ in April 2012 and September 2013, while it was test-fired from hermetically sealed canisters mounted on transport-cum tilting launcher trucks in January 2015 and December 2016 – making it a total of five tests so far.

The 50-tonne Agni-V missile has been designed in a way that it can carry a 1.5-tonne nuclear warhead to the widest strike range so far. Currently, the tri-service SFC wing has Agni-1 with 700 km range, Agni-2 with 2000 km range, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2500 km to more than 3500km range, the Prithvi-II with 350km range in its armour range. While fighter jets like Sukhoi-30MKI, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar are capable of carrying nuclear bombs. But the full-induction of Agni-V will enable India to carryout inter-continental strikes and India will join the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs like the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

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