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Agni 3 clears test,all set to be inducted into forces

India on Sunday successfully tested the Agni 3 nuclear missile for the third time,indicating its readiness for induction into the strategic forces.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
February 8, 2010 3:13:14 am

India on Sunday successfully tested the Agni 3 nuclear missile for the third time,indicating its readiness for induction into the strategic forces. The third successful test,which came after the initial setback in 2006 when the missile plunged into the Bay of Bengal,is part of the pre-induction trial of the missile that gives India for the first time the capability to strike deep into China.

The Agni 3 test,which took place from the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast,has made the missile ready for induction,the Defence Ministry announced on Sunday. “The launch is part of the pre-induction trial. The Indian Army (the user) has carried out the total launch operations guided by the Defence Reseach and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists. Now the Missile system will be fully inducted into the Armed Forces,” a statement by the Defence Ministry said.

While the formal induction will take at least two more years and a few more tests,the missile is strategically vital in India’s nuclear deterrence plans that rely on the second strike theory. India’s stated policy has been of no first use,which makes it vital to have long range missiles to strike back in the event of a nuclear attack.

The Agni 3,with a range of over 3,500 km,is also the only missile in the Indian arsenal that can reach Beijing. All current missiles like the Agni II — with a range of 2,000 km — as well as all others in the Prithvi series,can strike all parts of Pakistan but have only a limited reach into China.

“The Agni 3 Missile tested for the full range,hit the target with pinpoint accuracy and met all the mission objectives. Two down range ships located near the target have tracked and witnessed the Missile reaching the target accurately,” the ministry said.

Immediately after the test,Defence Minister A K Antony congratulated DRDO for the success and called the successful test a ‘tremendous achievement’. “The missile is equipped with a state-of-the-art computer system,navigated with a most advanced Navigation system and guided with an innovative guidance scheme. The Navigation system used for guidance is the first of its kind,” the Defence Ministry said.

In a message to the scientists behind the project,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said,“I convey my heartiest congratulations to the DRDO,the Advanced Systems Laboratory,Hyderabad and all members of the Project Team for the successful launch of the Agni 3 missile. On behalf of the Nation I commend our scientists and engineers for their dedication,hard work and excellence in our march towards achieving self-reliance in high-technology areas and meeting the country’s defence needs.”

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