25, 2008: India is putting its Agni III
ICBM into service. This missile has a 3,500 kilometer range. Currently, the
Agni series consists of the Agni I, with a range of 700 kilometers, and the
Agni II, with a range of 2,500 kilometers and, still in development.
The Agni III
had been having technical, and diplomatic problems, over the last three years.
The Agni III had technical problems early on, but the last two flight tests
succeeded. Indian diplomats were also upset over the fact that Agni III exists
mainly for use against China. India is trying to develop better relations with
China, and Indian diplomats argued for the cancellation of the Agni III
project. At first, the government agreed, then quietly resumed work on the Agni
III. Work is also underway on the Agni V, which would allow targets in Russia,
Europe (Italy and points east), Japan and Africa to be hit. It's unsure what
point the Indians are trying to make here.
The Agni I
and II are sufficient to cover India's main enemy, Pakistan. The Agni III and V
are both multi-stage, solid fuel missiles.