The Agni-5 missile was test-fired for the first time in 2012 from Wheeler Island, Orissa. (Photo credits: Wikicommons)

In a major boost to its military might, India on Wednesday successfully tested surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5 that can strike targets at ranges up to 5,000 km with a very high degree of accuracy from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. "The launch, which took place at 7:50 pm, is in line with India's stated policy to have a credible minimum deterrence with a commitment to a No First Use policy," said a statement by the Indian government.

The Agni-5 is generally viewed as a deterrent against China. Until recently, the longest range missile India had was Agni-3, with a range of 3000-3500 km. This was not sufficient to reach targets on the extreme eastern and northeastern region of China.

India first tested the solid-fueled missile in 2012, conducting subsequent tests in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Agni-5, which can launch with a mass of around 50 tonnes, cost over Rs 2,500 crore to make. It incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.

The Chinese have been extremely vary of the Agni-5 missile. In September, when news broke that India was looking to test the missile, the Chinese cited a post-Pokhran blast resolution of the United Nations Security Council over missile tests.

"As for whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, the UNSCR 1172 already has clear stipulations," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said at a media briefing back then, reported The Wire.

The UNSC resolution of 1172 is related to 1998 nuclear tests by both India and Pakistan.

Following the 1998 nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, the UN Security Council had called upon both countries to stop further nuclear tests, cap their nuclear weapons programmes, cease all fissile material production and end development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The resolution was approved under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which means that it is non-binding.

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