Mumbai - India is ready to test Agni-V, a long-range nuclear missile,
capable of reaching across Asia (including
the eastern parts of Europe. In fact, the rocket will have a range
of over 5 thousand miles and will be launched
Island in the eastern state of
Orissa. If the launch were to be successful, India would become the seventh country to have intercontinental ballistic missiles in its arsenal,
thus joining the United States, Russia, Britain, China,
France and Israel.
Costing more than 2.5 billion rupees (480 million dollars), Agni-V is 17.5 meters long and weighs 50 tons. It carries a single nuclear warhead weighing up to 1.5 tons that can penetrate up to China.
While waiting for the launch, the Indian authorities continue to insist that the country has a policy of "no first strike" and that the country's missile program is purely defensive. However, many consider this launch a way to assert India's supremacy in Asia. "This missile - said Uday Bhaskar, a retired Indian Navy commodore and analyst of the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi - will neutralize the threat of China and create equality between the two countries."
The Agni missile (the name of the Hindu god of fire) is the spearhead of the Indian arsenal and one of the most sophisticated weapons. The first was tested in 2002 and had a radius of 700 kilometers.