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Successful test of ‘Agni 5’ and its strategic importance

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    2nd Nov, 2021


India successfully test-fired ‘Agni-5’, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile, from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast.

Important facts about the missile

  • The successful test of Agni-5 is in line with India’s stated policy to have ‘credible minimum deterrence’ that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’.
  • The missile is already inducted into services and is operated by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC).
    • SFC is a key tri-services formation that manages and administers all the strategic forces and falls under the purview of the Nuclear Command Authority of India.
  • The successful testing of Agni-5 marked an important milestone in defence capabilities of India.
  • It uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, was carried out recently, signifying India’s defence capabilities.
  • The missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and can strike targets at ranges up to 5,000 km with a high degree of accuracy.


  • Canistered surface-to-surface ballistic missile
  • Canisterization reduces the time required for launch & improving storage & ability


  • The first test of the Agni-5 missile was carried out in April 2012. Last test was conducted around three years ago in 2018.
  • They are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability.

How it puts India’s strategic stance in the region?

  1. Strategic signaling: This test being conducted is being looked at strong strategic posturing towards China in the context of a 17-month long stand-off.
  2. China’s capabilities: In the context of a test of nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle conducted by China in August this year that circled the globe before speeding towards its target.

Nuclear Triad

  • A nuclear triad comprises land-based ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile), SLBM (INS Arihant) and strategic bomber aircraft (sukhoi-30 and Mirage-2000) .
  • These tests are a strong reminder to the adversaries about our capabilities.
  • Agni Missile Family
  • The name Agni originates from the Sanskrit word for fire and is taken in the context of Agni being one of the five primary elements of Panch Mahabhutas.
    • Agni I: Range of 700-800 km
    • Agni II: Range more than 2000 km
    • Agni III: Range of more than 2,500 Km
    • Agni IV: Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher
    • Agni-V: The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km

No-first use policy

  • India maintains the ‘Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states’, the doctrine states that ‘in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.’

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