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  • India test launches Agni-V long-range missile

    (BBC, 19 April 2012 Last updated at 09:01 GMT) India has successfully launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile able to carry a nuclear warhead, officials say.

    The Agni-V missile was launched from a site off India's east coast and took 20 minutes to hit its target somewhere near Indonesia in the Indian Ocean.

    The missile has a range of more than 5,000km (3,100 miles), potentially bringing targets in China within range.

    It is still unclear if it reached the 5,000km range India was hoping for.

    If it is confirmed as a successful test, India would join an elite nuclear club of China, Russia, France, the US and UK which already have long-range missiles, although with a much greater range. Israel is also thought to possess them.

    "It was a perfect launch. It met all the test parameters and hit its pre-determined target," SP Das, director of the test range, told the BBC.

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the scientists for the "successful launch" of the missile. It was launched from Wheeler Island off the coast of the eastern state of Orissa at 0805 local time (0235GMT) on Thursday

    "Today's launch represents another milestone in our quest for our security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science," Mr Singh said.

    'Historic moment'
    The BBC's Andrew North in Delhi says Indian officials deny it, but everyone believes the missile is mainly aimed at deterring China.

    Beijing did not immediately comment on the launch, but state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) said the test was "a historic moment for India and it shows that India has joined the club of the countries that own ballistic missiles", Associated Press reported.

    CCTV listed some of the missile's shortcomings and said "it does not pose a threat in reality".

    But the Agni-V will now in theory allow India to fire nuclear warheads at Beijing and Shanghai, defence analysts say.

    It was only launched once officials were sure they had the best weather conditions - so this was as much a demonstration as a real test, to show India's rivals that it has this kind of capability, our correspondent says.

    "Agni-V is to meet our present-day threat perceptions, which are determined by our defence forces and other agencies," DRDO spokesman Ravi Gupta told AFP news agency ahead of the launch.

    "This is a deterrent to avoid wars and it is not country-specific," he said.

    Analysts say the Agni (meaning "fire" in Hindi and Sanskrit) missile family is to be the cornerstone of India's missile-based nuclear deterrent.

    The Agni-V is 17.5m tall, solid-fuelled, has three stages and a launch weight of 50 tons. It has cost more than 2.5bn rupees ($480m; 307m) to develop.

    The missiles are among the country's most sophisticated weapons.

    In 2010, India successfully test-fired Agni-II, an intermediate-range ballistic missile with a range of more than 2,000km (1,250 miles).

    ---
    Analysis


    Rahul Bedi
    Defence analyst
    With the launch of locally-developed Agni-V, India has joined a small group of countries - up to now only the nuclear-armed powers - with inter-continental range ballistic missiles.

    A successful test flight of the missile will strengthen India's nuclear deterrence once it comes into service by 2014-15.

    With a range of 5,000km (3,100 miles), the Agni-V is capable of delivering a single 1.5-ton warhead deep inside nuclear rival China's territory.
    No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

    To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

  • #2
    So much for Global nuclear disarmament. If there's ever going to be a nuclear holocaust its practically guaranteed to be in South Asia.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is getting ridiculous. I thought we had left this behind us.
      We are developing the potential for arms races from South East Asia stretching to the Middle East.

      April 19, 2012
      India, Eye on China, Tests Missile With Longer Range
      By HEATHER TIMMONS and HARI KUMAR
      NEW DELHI — India said Thursday that it had successfully launched a missile with nuclear capability and a range of 3,100 miles, giving it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai and heightening fears of an Asian arms race.

      With the launching of the missile, called the Agni 5, India joins a small group of countries with long-range nuclear missile capability, including China, Britain, France, Russia, Israel and the United States. Agni is the Hindi word for fire.

      The launching comes amid growing international apprehension about the militarization of Asia and a stepped-up strategic rivalry there between the United States and China. In March, Beijing announced a double-digit increase in military spending, and India recently became the world’s top arms buyer, displacing China, in part because China has increased it domestic production of weapons. And on Thursday, South Korea tested a missile capable of hitting anywhere in North Korea, less than a week after North Korea launched a rocket that failed minutes after takeoff.

      The missile launching in India “increases the perception of an arms race, and the reality of an arms race, in East Asia, particularly between China and India,” said Graeme P. Herd, head of the international security program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, which trains diplomats on peace and security issues.

      The timing may be seen as particularly provocative, he said, coming as China’s government deals with a scandal involving one of its top officials and after the United States has stepped up its military presence in the Pacific. “All of this, from the Chinese perspective, looks like a movement from balancing China to containing China,” Mr. Herd said, and could inspire Beijing to strengthen its weapons stockpile and forge closer ties with Pakistan and the Central Asian countries.

      The launching was largely celebrated in India, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called it “another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness and to continuously explore the frontiers of science.” The entire nation honors the scientists involved, he said, who have “done the country proud.”

      The Indian defense minister, A. K. Antony, said India had “joined the elite club of nations” that possess long-range missiles.

      The United States, which led the criticism of North Korea last Friday, appeared to warily endorse India’s missile launching. “We urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities,” said Mark C. Toner, a State Department spokesman. “That said, India has a solid nonproliferation record.” India has a “no-first-use” policy.

      China’s immediate reaction was subdued. At a regularly scheduled news briefing, Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that India and China were “not competitors, but partners,” according to news agencies. The two countries should “work hard to uphold friendly strategic cooperation” for peace and stability in the region, he said.

      The missile “does not pose a threat in reality,” China’s state-run broadcaster CCTV said, according to The Associated Press. The news channel questioned the accuracy of the missile’s guidance systems and its 50-ton-plus weight, which the Chinese said would force it to be launched from a fixed location, making it an easy target. India said the missile can be launched from a mobile platform.

      Officials in Pakistan, India’s nuclear-armed neighbor and historic rival, did not return calls for comment. The countries have recently increased trade ties, raising hopes that the longstanding tensions between the two may be ending.

      The Indian missile’s range would include Tehran, parts of Eastern Europe and Manila. But the focus of the test appeared to be China, analysts said.

      “Agni 5 will give India complete coverage of targets in China,” Poornima Subramaniam, an Asia-Pacific armed forces analyst at IHS Jane’s Defense, said in an e-mail. “Agni 5 technologically narrows the missile gap between India and China, while the strategic balance between the two rivals is still tipped in China’s favor.”

      The launching of the Agni 5, from an island off India’s east coast, is part of a missile program that began decades ago.

      India started its missile development program in 1983. It has suffered occasional setbacks, but last November, it tested the Agni 4, which can hit targets up to 2,200 miles away. It will soon be given to the army for operational use; the Agni 1, Agni 2 and Agni 3 were also given to the army.

      The Agni 5 weighs about 50 tons and is 51 feet long. It reached an altitude of about 430 miles in this test, the Indian government said. The Agni 5 will be ready for operational use by 2014.

      “We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve in this mission,” Avinash Chandra, mission director for the test, told the Times Now news channel on Thursday.

      China has a missile that can hit targets at least 6,200 miles away, and Pakistan’s missile range is at least 744 miles. “India has two nuclear-armed adversaries and needs to create minimal deterrence,” said Wing Cmdr. Ajey Lele, a specialist in strategic technologies at the government-financed Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi.

      Some in India questioned spending so much on a sophisticated missile program as hundreds of millions of the country’s citizens continue to live in extreme poverty.

      “It is ridiculous,” said Praful Bidwai, a researcher and columnist associated with the Coalition of Nuclear Disarmament and Peace. “We are getting into a useless arms race at the expense of fulfilling the need of poor people.”

      The Chinese missile program is not directed at India, and the Chinese have assured India of that, he said, adding, “Now, the India missile program is clearly directed to China.”

      Comment


      • #4
        Not to mention China's BMD program. If Rick Fisher is right and it comes online in 2025, then India would have been better served spending the Agni V money on hypersonic platforms instead.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's really a non-event to both China and India. The rocket took so long in coming that whatever strategic advantage that it might have China have already accounted for.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Skywatcher View Post
            Not to mention China's BMD program. If Rick Fisher is right and it comes online in 2025, then India would have been better served spending the Agni V money on hypersonic platforms instead.
            :confu: anything above mach 5 is hypersonic
            J'ai en marre.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Native View Post
              This is getting ridiculous. I thought we had left this behind us.
              We are developing the potential for arms races from South East Asia stretching to the Middle East.
              Arms race yes, but not inclusive of the Middle East. Middle Eastern countries do not care about the military balances/build-up's in South or East Asia or feel the need to compete with Asian countries. If they did, all of them would have had nuclear weapons and ICBM programs from the 60s onwards.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 1979 View Post
                :confu: anything above mach 5 is hypersonic
                My bad. Manuvering hypersonic platforms.

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                • #9
                  than it makes no sense, you do not pump money into something your not certain is going to work.
                  India in that regard is not even in the same class with the US and even the later was frustrated in that area.
                  J'ai en marre.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 1980s View Post
                    Arms race yes, but not inclusive of the Middle East. Middle Eastern countries do not care about the military balances/build-up's in South or East Asia or feel the need to compete with Asian countries. If they did, all of them would have had nuclear weapons and ICBM programs from the 60s onwards.
                    I didn't mean to imply that the Middle East cared so much what India and China were doing. But that there is a geographical footprint from the Far East to the Middle East that is a mess. In the Iran thread, you have the talk of the possible arms race that could develop around Iran, which theoretically reach out to Turkey.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                      It's really a non-event to both China and India. The rocket took so long in coming that whatever strategic advantage that it might have China have already accounted for.
                      None of India's missiles can give it an advantage. Only parity. You cannot have nuclear deterrence if your rockets don't reach your adversary's biggest cities while his can reach yours. That's pretty much the situation India is in today. It won't be after this new missile is inducted in a couple of years. Hardly a non-event.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 1979 View Post
                        than it makes no sense, you do not pump money into something your not certain is going to work.
                        India in that regard is not even in the same class with the US and even the later was frustrated in that area.
                        Actually, with S&T, especially in the military, if you want new technology, you have to put money into R&D that you're not certain is going to work. That's a risk you just have to take if you want cutting edge technology.

                        I was thinking of hypersonic due to the Brahamos 2 cruise missile (though IMO, it probably won't go much higher than Mach 3.0)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Firestorm View Post
                          None of India's missiles can give it an advantage. Only parity.
                          No, Chinese strategic forces are still ahead as far as technology and doctrine is concerned. I will explain below.

                          Originally posted by Firestorm View Post
                          You cannot have nuclear deterrence if your rockets don't reach your adversary's biggest cities while his can reach yours.
                          Since both sides subscribe to Deterrence is not warfighting, it really doesn't matter. For the Chinese, they know India would never launch a nuclear 1st strike against China and the Chinese have long since moved away from nuclear strikes altogether.

                          Now, where the Chinese is ahead is that they have gone ahead and devised conventional missile salvo strikes in replacing nuclear 1st strikes. Something India has yet to do.

                          Originally posted by Firestorm View Post
                          That's pretty much the situation India is in today. It won't be after this new missile is inducted in a couple of years. Hardly a non-event.
                          It is when both sides know that nuclear war (does not mean no war at all) is something that both WILL NOT fight, then it hardly constitute a worry outside of internet chat rooms.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What happens if India develops an effective ABM system? Then all of China's missile advantages are for naught. Besides, China has to be careful about launching missiles because any missile launch towards India would be construed as a nuclear attack and thus be retaliated accordingly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                              What happens if India develops an effective ABM system?
                              Let's cross that road when it is built.

                              Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                              Besides, China has to be careful about launching missiles because any missile launch towards India would be construed as a nuclear attack and thus be retaliated accordingly.
                              We've discussed this before. This is a myth that even I once subscribed to. There is no such thing as launch on warning. It has always been launch on impact, even with the superpowers. Too many false alarms on both sides to allow anything else.

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