India on Thursday successfully test fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V -- the most potent and with the longest range in the Agni series - that can reach targets as far as Beijing.The test took place at the Abdul Kalam Island facility off the Odisha coast. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted about its success, congratulating its makers DRDO, the armed forces and the defence industry. She said the successful test of the 5,000-km-range missile that can carry a one-tonne warhead, was "a major boost to the defence capabilities of our country"."The Made in India canistered missile, having three stages of propulsion, was successfully test fired," she tweeted.Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-V is the most advanced version of the Agni series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that started in the 1960s.The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.This was the fifth test of the missile and likely to be its first user trial, though there was no official word on it.
Thursday's test brings the missile closer to its induction in the tri-service Strategic Forces Command.The missile has a much longer shelf life, with its container being made of special steel that absorbs the blast of the takeoff.In the canisterised launch, a gas generator inside ejects the missile up to a height of about 30 metres. A motor is then ignited to fire the missile.With this missile, India joins the super-exclusive club of ICBM (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500 km) capable countries of the US, Russia, the UK, France and China.