New Delhi: Agni-V, India's newest strategic missile, on Thursday took its first successful flight and India joined a select club of nations with such technology. Agni-V's five thousand kilometer range puts all of Asia within reach plus much of the Indian Ocean, parts of Africa and Europe.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, "The successful launch of Agni-V missile is a tribute to the sophistication and the commitment to national causes by the scientific community of India. I hope that in years to come our scientists will contribute a lot more in defence and other walks of life."
Strategic Analyst C Rajamohan said, "The prime objective is to have a nuclear deterrence against China. The Agni-V serves that purpose."
Retd Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak said, "We are now in a position where no one can mess with us and get away with it."
The Agni-V is capped by a one point five ton nuclear warhead and can be fired from a truck making it difficult to locate and destroy. The successful launch has already ruffled sentiment in our immediate neighbourhood. While the official Chinese reaction seemed positive.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin said, "China and India are both emerging powers. We are not rivals but cooperative partners. We should cherish the hard-earned momentum of cooperation."
However, China's People's Daily newspaper spoke in a different tone and said, "The West chooses to overlook India's disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties. India should not overestimate."
A ballistic missile, the Agni-V first soared into space, before re-entering earth's atmosphere and homing in on its target and will be released to the Strategic Command around 2014, after further tests.