India on Oct. 27 successfully test-fired its Agni-5 surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which is capable of striking targets at ranges of up to 3,100 miles with a “very high degree of accuracy,” officials said.
The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuel engine, was launched at approximately 7:50 p.m. local time from APJ Abdul Kalam Island, in Odisha. The island is roughly 93 miles east of the state capital, Bhubaneswar.
“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,'” India’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
The test-firing of the missile comes amid a stalemate in talks regarding lingering border tensions over the western section of the China–India border. Beijing also has amped up its powerful missile arsenal, in turn prompting New Delhi to improve its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile weapons systems in recent years and boost the country’s defense capabilities.
Earlier this month, the 13th round of talks between the two countries, focused on resolving the remaining issues along the line of actual control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, broke down yet again.
It was hoped that the corps commander-level talks held at the Chushul–Moldo border meeting point on Oct. 10 would bring about a long-term solution to recent clashes.
Instead, the dialogue—which lasted nearly 8 1/2 hours—ended in a stalemate, with the Indian army issuing a statement highlighting that the situation along the shared border had been caused by “unilateral attempts” by the Chinese side to alter the status quo in violation of bilateral agreements.
“During the meeting, the Indian side made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals,” the Indian army said in a statement. “The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas.
“It was, therefore, necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western sector.
“The two sides have agreed to maintain communications and also to maintain stability on the ground. It is our expectation that the Chinese side will take into account the overall perspective of bilateral relations and will work towards early resolution of the remaining issues while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.”
Talks between the countries two months prior had resulted in an agreement to disengage troops from Gogra (Patrol Point-17A), where a face-off situation had existed since May 2020. The standoffs in Depsang and Hot Springs have continued.
India has insisted that the resolution of outstanding issues in all friction points along the LAC is essential to restoring peace and improving ties between China and India.
However, China is deploying record numbers of troops to the India–China border and frequently changing the commander of the Western Battle Zone that encompasses the border, according to Indian army chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane.
The Agni-5 is believed to be able to strike nearly all of China, The Associated Press reports.
India already is able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, with whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.