India joins US, France, Britain with missile that fires multiple N-warheads

India has joined Britain, France, Russia, and the US with the first successful test of its nuclear-capable missile that can carry multiple warheads up to a range of 5,000 kilometres.

India hailed the maiden flight of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) technology on the Agni-5 missile as a “historic moment in our quest for self-reliance in the field of missile technology.”

“Various Telemetry and radar stations tracked and monitored multiple re-entry vehicles. The Mission accomplished the designed parameters,” the defence ministry in a statement added but did not give the number of warheads released in space.

Starwar jitters

Pakistan too claimed to have tested the technology in 2017, but experts say the assertion was unverified. China deployed MIRV on its Dong-Feng missiles as part of the rapid expansion of its strategic forces with new technologies.

Some nuclear non-proliferation lobbies say North Korea was also scrambling for MIRV, which can carry a dozen or more warheads and is vastly difficult to track or intercept.

According to the Centre for Arms Control and Non-proliferation lobby, warheads once released in space can hit separate targets up to 1,500 kilometres apart.

The Federation of American Scientists, a Washington-based policy think tank, called India’s space project a “warning sign” as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a rare third term in office praised the launch of the MIRV-enabled Agni-V.

Read more on RFI English

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