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Rajiv Nayan’s Article on India’s Strategic Missile Capabilities Published in Jane's Intelligence Review

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  • January 17, 2013

    Senior Research Associate, IDSA, Dr Rajiv Nayan’s article, titled ‘Weapon Of choice: India’s strategic missile capabilities’, was published in the January edition of Jane's Intelligence Review.


    On 19 April 2012, India tested what it described as a new long-range ballistic missile – the Agni-V. Launched from Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa in the east of the country, the Agni-V followed its planned trajectory before falling into the Bay of Bengal.

    As well as signalling a step forward in India’s strategic missile capabilities – IHS Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems describes the Agni-V’s “maximum range varying from 5,000 km to 8,000 km” – the development of the Agni-V also shows that, despite New Delhi’s growing relationship with the United States, the country still prefers an independent and autonomous nuclear deterrence. This is a view predominantly shaped by the Indian strategic tradition.

    Perhaps more significant is the fact that the Agni-V will place Beijing within reach of India’s ballistic missiles for the first time, suggesting the missile’s design is aimed more at deterring China than India’s historical nucleararmed adversary Pakistan, which already falls within range of India’s existing missile arsenal. This development is likely to have a significant influence on the already complex strategic deterrence relationships in Asia.

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