India will acquire an inter-continental strike capability as it intends to test-fire the indigenous inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-V with a range of 6,000 km in September.
The first nuclear-tipped inter-continental missile would add muscle to India's "dissuasive deterrence" posture against China as it would be able to strike even northernmost China if the need arises.
"The Agni-V is test ready and would be tested in September this year. The test is one of the 10 missile tests scheduled this year," a senior official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said, requesting anonymity.
The missile arrives in the backdrop of China developing an anti-satellite missile and anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile Dong Feng-31A with a strike range of 11,200 km. If launched from close to the Line of Actual Control, the Agni-V can hit Habin, the northernmost city of China.
The Agni-V missile has moved from the drawing board; an evaluation of subsystems is currently on. The ICBM is designed by adding a third composite stage to the two-stage, 3,500-km range Agni-III missile. The 17.5-metre-long Agni-V would be a canister launch missile system to ensure it has the requisite operational flexibility to be swiftly transported and fired from anywhere.
The DRDO will also be conducting fifth test for its ballistic missile defence system, designed to destroy missiles both inside (endo) and outside (exo) the earth's atmosphere.
"We have conducted tests for the interceptor missile (the name by which the ballistic missile defence system is known) but this year we will conduct simultaneous test for endo- and exo-atmospheric ballistic defence system," the official added.