Strategic Weapons: Agni Agonies

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September25, 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.

 


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