Agni-V: The ICBM That’s Giving China and Pakistan Sleepless Nights

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Agni-V is now a full-blown ICBM or Inter Continental Ballistic Missile that can cover a range of 7000 KM. Just a few days after it was test-fired on December 15, 2022, the weight of Agni-V was reduced by 20%. This gave it the capability of covering a range of 7000 KM. With the Chinese army continuing to illegally enter India’s sovereign land, this new and enhanced missile warhead will deter both Chinese and Pakistani aggression.

India will now be able to strike targets beyond 7,000 km

While Agni-V now has a reported range of 7000 KM, India is smart enough not to disclose the actual range of its missiles. However, we already know that since the experts replaced steel components with composite parts, the weight of the missiles has already been reduced by 20%. The government itself explained that the scope of reducing the weight of the missile is still there. Hence, the range of Agni-V can further be increased.

However, India is smart enough to hide the actual range of Agni series missiles. As pointed out by Defence Forum India, historical data shows that the old Agni missiles – Agni- III and Agni-V LRBM – were both bigger than their contemporaries used by other countries. Hence, from a logical point of view, Agni-III and Agni-V LRBM could hold more fuel. This simply means that these missiles could ‘possibly’ cover more range than what was publicly announced. In fact, other ICBMs used by other countries – with similar technical features – have way too long ranges of more than 10,000 Km. It is highly likely that the Agni-V ICBM missile can cover more than 7000 Km.

Agni- The Brainchild of Former President APJ Abdul Kalam

India’s reason behind coming up with Agni was to make the country self-sufficient regarding missile technology. This urge prompted the Defence Research and Development Laboratory – which was headed by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam – to come up with a missile development programme. The programme was titled – Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

As part of IGMDP, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory was commissioned to conceptualise, build and commercialise five types of missiles for five different purposes. Agni was one among these five types of missiles. The original intention behind Agni was to come up with an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

How PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee Showed Spine in Front of the US Pressure to Stop Developing Agni

The IGMDP by Defence and Research Development Laboratory did become successful in 1989 with the test flight of Agni-I. It is interesting to note that India used the booster motor of its Satellite Launch Vehicle – SLV 3 – to power Agni-I. However, very soon, the United States of America became insecure, seeing the technological potential of India in the field of defence research. It started putting pressure on the country to stop testing ballistic missiles. After the fourth test flight of Agni-I in 1994, the Narasimha Rao government bowed down to the US pressure and stopped testing the missile from 1995 onwards.

However, it was good luck for the country that NDA won the election, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India in 1998. Under the esteemed leadership of PM Vajpayee, India regained its firm voice and decided to develop its defence weapons – which included developing a nuclear deterrent.

Thanks to the enthusiasm expressed by PM Vajpayee, India saw a renewed interest in developing a more advanced version of Agni, which it did in 1999. India test-fired Agni-II in 1999, which had an actual range of around 2000 Km. In comparison, Agni-I had an actual range of around 1450 Km. By then, India had already conducted the Pokhran-II nuclear bomb test explosions.

The United States and the entire world realised that India couldn’t be bullied anymore.

What the 7000 Km Range Means for India and the World

The range of 7000 Km achieved by Agni-V is India’s way of saying to China that any unwelcome move against India would be answered with double the aggression. With the current range, Agni-V can easily enter deep into China. In fact, the entire South Asia can be covered by Agni-5. This capability makes India a formidable entity across Asia.

Indian Missile Scientists and Their Mysterious Deaths

It should be remembered and remembered again how during the development phase of Indian missiles, as many as 17 nuclear and missile scientists died mysteriously.

The prominent among the scientists who died mysteriously was Homi Bhaba – one of the architects of India’s nuclear programme. He died in a mysterious plane crash. Officially, it is said that he died because of a miscommunication between the pilot and the air traffic controller. However, various conspiracy theories suggest the hand of the CIA behind the crash. Of course, these conspiracy theories have not been proven.

L. Mahalingam, another nuclear scientist working for the Kaiga atomic power station, mysteriously vanished one morning. His decomposed body was found 5 days later. It should be reiterated that some days later, another nuclear scientist was abducted from the same place where Mr Mahalingam vanished from. Thankfully, he fled.

In the same Kaiga atomic power station, 20 workers fell ill after drinking tritium-laced water.

Umang Singh and Partha Pratim Bag – who were working in the BARC – died mysteriously when a fire broke out despite the absence of any flammable substance in the lab.

Mahadevan Padmanabhan Iyer, another researcher from BARC, died mysteriously in his house in 2010.

The list is long…

Bottomline The fact that India has been able to develop such advanced missile systems as Agni-5 despite being obstructed by so many entities – and even international governments – shows the unputdownable spirit of the country and its citizens. We still have a long way to go. Agni-VI is already being developed by DRDO, which will further establish the country’s geopolitical dominance.

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