India has put on hold testing of its indigenously built surface-to-surface Inter-Continental range Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and will now be conducted after Prime Minister’s visit to the US.
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the US June 6. The Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) will test the canistered version of the long range nuclear capable missile after he returns back to the nation, Indian express quoted unnamed sources from DRDO as saying Monday.
Although the missile is ready to display its fire power, defence sources said, the test has been delayed for over past six months for strategic reasons. Earlier planned in December last year and then early January, the test was reportedly postponed due to the visit of US President Barack Obama and busy schedule of Modi who was slated to witness the launch along with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
A source on the condition of anonymity said while the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) have already given the green signal for the test, the DRDO is yet to get any communication from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
“While the DRDO is waiting for the PM’s confirmation to witness the launch, the PMO is yet to give confirmation on the visit of the PM to the test facility. The test now completely depends on the schedule of the PMO,” the source claimed.
Although India secretly conducted two tests of submarine launched ballistic missile K-4 in March from under water platform in depressed range of less than 1,000 km, as the Agni-V, is in a ready state of induction, it would be fired from a hermetically sealed canister to its full range of around 5,000, km which is a threat for the powerful nations.
With a strike range of over 5,000, Agni-V is the country’s first ICBM which is capable of hitting targets in all Asian countries and parts of Africa and Europe. The 17-meter long, 2-meter wide, three-stage, solid-fuelled missile can carry a payload of 1.5 tonne and weighs around 50 tonnes.
As a canister-launch system gives the forces the requisite operational flexibility to promptly transport the ballistic missile and launch it from a place of their choice, the DRDO is also working on the canister version of other Agni series of missiles including Agni-I, Agni-III and Agni-IV.