India successfully tests long-range intercontinental nuclear missile

Published: January 18, 2018 18:58:05 | Updated: January 19, 2018 16:13:54

India has successfully tested a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), said the country's Defence Ministry on Thursday.

The nuclear-capable Agni-V is believed to be India's most advanced ICBM.

It was fired Thursday morning from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, the ministry said in a tweet.

India termed the test a "major boost" to the country's defence capabilities, says CNN.

India is believed to have around 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies nuclear proliferation, said Thursday's test did not demonstrate any "new capability, (this) was simply a developmental test before India inducts it into operational range."

Narang said it's possible India's armed forces were testing the canister the missile is launched out of, as well as its ejection, flight performance and accuracy -- a "regular technical test in that regard."

Ajai Shukla, a New Delhi-based defence analyst and former Indian army colonel, said the country has been "gradually stepping up the complexity of the testing process."

The Agni-V has been tested five times since 2012, with the most recent being in December 2016. That launch drew the ire of India's two most important geostrategic adversaries: Pakistan and China.

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