'Tremendous strength’: India conducts successful ICBM test

'Tremendous strength’: India conducts successful ICBM test
India has successfully tested its most powerful Agni-V ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the country’s Defense Ministry announced. PM Narendra Modi dubbed the launch a “tremendous strength” of the country’s defense.

The launch took place at about 10:30am Monday local time, from Kalam Island off the coast of India’s eastern state of Odischa. Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee confirmed the latest show of force in a twitter message. 

“I congratulate @DRDO_India scientists for the successful test of Agni-V missile, and further strengthening India's defence capabilities,” the statement said. 

The locally built Agni-5 missile is a three-stage, solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile measuring 17 meters in length and two meters in diameter. The surface-to-surface missile has a payload capacity of over one ton and can carry a nuclear warhead at a distance of over 5,000 kilometers.

The respective range cements India’s presence in an exclusive club of states (including US, Russia, China, France and the UK) whose ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads can reach other continents. The latest test is the fourth for Agni-V and the second one from a canister on a Road Mobile Launcher.

Modi cheered the successful launch, saying it boosts the country’s strategic capabilities. "[The] successful test firing of Agni V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defense," the Prime Minister said in a statement.

His view was echoed by other top officials, including Information Minister Rajyavardhan Rathor. The successful launch “reinforces India's position as a military might,” Rathor wrote in a

India currently has four types of Agni missiles of various range capability. The Agni-1 has a range of 700km, Agni-2 can reach a target at 2,000km, Agni-3 has a range of 2,500km and Agni-4 has a range of over 3,500km.

The Agni-5 is the first Indian missile that has a range sufficient to hit any target in neighboring Pakistan or China.

India and Pakistan are engaged in a regional arms race amid a decades-long rivalry dating back to Britain’s partitioning of its Indian protectorate into what now are India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Pakistan is also working on its ballistic missile technologies. In December 2015, Islamabad successfully  its medium range Shaheen-III nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of 2,750 kilometers.