GS Paper - 3 (Defence Technology)

India on 27 October 2021 successfully test-fired the recently inducted Agni-V, the nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), amid rising tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The successful launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which has a range of over 5,000 km, was done at the APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.


  1. This is the first user launch of the missile, which was last tested in 2018, before it got inducted into the Strategic Forces Command that looks after India’s nuclear arsenal.
  2. The successful test of Agni-V “is in line with India’s stated policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to ‘No First Use’”.
  3. The missile, which uses a three-stage solid-fuelled engine, is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometres with a very high degree of accuracy.
  4. Agni-V has the capability to reach almost every part of China, in 2018, when the missile was tested last by its developer, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


  1. The launch on 27 October 2021 comes just months after India also test-fired the Agni Prime, the next generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile in the nuclear arsenal.
  2. While the Agni Prime and the rest of the Agni series is focussed primarily on Pakistan, the Agni-V is a much larger strategic weapon, capable of striking at much longer ranges.
  3. With Agni-V, India has joined an exclusive club of countries, with the others being China, US, Russia, Britain and France, to have ICBMs.
  4. Agni-V is programmed in a way that after reaching the peak of its trajectory, it will turn towards Earth to continue its journey towards the intended target with increased speed due to the attraction of the Earth’s gravitational pull.