India Test Fires Long-range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

India has successfully test-fired a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the country’s Defense Ministry said Thursday.

The nuclear-capable Agni-V is believed to be India’s most advanced ICBM. It was fired Thursday morning India time from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, the ministry said in a tweet.

It called the test a “major boost” to the country’s defense capabilities.

‘Stepping up the complexity’

India is believed to have around 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, according to the Federation of American Scientists, compared to several thousand for the US.

Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT who studies nuclear proliferation, said Thursday’s test did not demonstrate any “new capability, (this) was simply a developmental test before India inducts it into operational range.”

Narang said it’s possible India’s armed forces were testing the canister the missile is launched out of, as well as its ejection, flight performance and accuracy — a “regular technical test in that regard.”

Ajai Shukla, a New Delhi-based defense analyst and former Indian army colonel, said the country has been “gradually stepping up the complexity of the testing process.”

The Agni-V has been tested five times since 2012, with the most recent being in December 2016. That launch drew the ire of India’s two most important geostrategic adversaries: Pakistan and China.

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SOURCE: CNN, Joshua Berlinger and Nikhil Kumar