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08 February 2010

Successful Agni-III missile tests provide India with a credible deterrent, boost for DRDO

10 Feb 2010: NDTV quotes Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu as saying that India and China are friends and that China does not see the missile as a threat. 

08 Feb 2010 8ak: In a significant step forward for India’s missile development program, DRDO has successfully tested the 3,500 km range Agni-III missile on Saturday. The missile, which was tested from the Inner Wheeler Island at Dhamra, a launch site in Bhadrak district, about 200 km from Orissa capital Bhubaneswar, travelled 350 km into the sky before re-entering the atmosphere.

8ak had earlier reported that India was in the process of testing Agni-III. The test was critical for the armed forces because the missiles range gives India the capability to hit territories deep inside China, which includes important cities like Beijing and Shanghai. According to TravelMath, the distance from India's capital New Delhi to Beijing is about 3,800km and 4,200 for Shanghai. (missiles will be fired from eastern borders, not Delhi, hence all major Chinese cities are within the range).

This is the fourth test of the country's most powerful missile. The first test of the missile was conducted on July 9, 2006 from Wheeler Island. After the launch, it was reported that the second stage of the rocket had failed to separate and the missile had fallen well short of its target. Agni-III was again tested on April 12, 2007, this time successfully, from the Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa. On May 7, 2008 India again successfully test fired this missile. The Agni-III missile is expected to be fully operational by 2012-2013.

The tests are significant as it validates the missiles operational readiness while extending the reach of India's nuclear deterrent to most high-value targets of the nation's most likely adversaries. The missile, with its range, is expected to bolster India’s credible deterrence capability against China. 

A top DRDO official told 8ak that the missile’s Circular Error Probable (CEP) is within 40 meters range, which makes it one of the most sophisticated and accurate ballistic missiles of its range class in the world. Work on the upgraded version of Agni-III missile known as Agni-V has commenced. The missile is expected to have a range of 5,000-6,000 km. It is a three stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the third stage. Two stages of this missile will be made with advanced composite materials. Agni-V will be able to carry multiple warheads and will have countermeasures against Anti-ballistic missile systems.

India has a very ambitious missile development program. Over the years India has tried to develop numerous new missiles to bolster its attack and retaliatory capabilities. In 2009, the 700km-range nuclear-capable submarine- launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Samaria was tested. Other indigenously built missiles to be tested by India in 2009 year are the 350km-range Prithvi and Russia-India developed supersonic missile Brahmos. These missiles are being developed under the aggressive Integrated Guided Missiles Program (IGMP) launched in 1983 by India to develop futuristic missiles technology based on hypersonic rockets to provide a potent weapon to the armed forces in order to enhance national security.

The DRDO is also developing Astra beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air missile (BVRAAM) for which the captive flight trials are going on. A 2008 Dawn News report quoting India's Mail Today (via Defence.pk) claims that Pakistan has a far more superior missile capabilities compared to India. An overview of Pakistan's missile technology is on Nuclear Threat Initiative


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This is great! I love it, this sends a message to both Pakistan and China. Even though this cant reach beijing, it brings all of China deployed forces (close to India) within range of nuclear attack. This will force China to spend considerable amounts of money on a BMD system to defeat the Agni.

Jason, the missiles wont be fired from Delhi but from border areas which will mean that all major Chinese cities are in range...

Dear Manu,
i have a question. " India has not got much headway in its ambitious missile development program as it lags behind its hostile neighbour Pakistan, which has a far more superior missile program compared to India as reported by Defence.pk.".

How much is this reliable?

Manu, thanks for the info on missile placement. While these can be aimed at China, what about the possibility of Iran? Could these missiles be moved west and reach Tehran if needed?

@Edward, India has other tactical missiles that can target much of Pakistan. I view the Agni III as a strategic weapon with its primary target being China. Of course it could be aimed at Karachi or Islamabad and Paki strike aircraft would be out of range.

Edward, the only reason why we would want to target Iran is if they have fired nukes at us or at Israel, in which case it is world war 3 and nothing really matters.

Even though Iran has helped Pakistan in all the wars that we have fought with it, we still have good relations with it. If only it can drop the stupid fundamentalism bs all would be good for it and ther rest of the region.

8ak, What is 'Samaria' missile, that India has?

And what Pakistan says and what it has are 2 different things. Our missile development program is very open to public in terms of its true capabilities. Pakistan not only lacks that but also dont disclose things like how many hours of flight their air force flies each year.

first of all, its not Samaria, it is Sagarika.!!
second of all, you are quoting from 'defence.pk' that paki missiles are superior to indias??

way to go with unbiased sources, really! bravo! good journalistic abilities. why dont you quote reliable sources in Lashkar e taiba that Pakis will be taking over Kashmir in a few months or something.

Pakis have much superior and advanced paint technology. they can paint red missiles to green very fast.

"However, India has not got much headway in its ambitious missile development program as it lags behind its hostile neighbour Pakistan, which has a far more superior missile program compared to India as reported by Defence.pk."


Dear readers, the idea of linking the defence.pk website is to provide a balanced picture and a perception which is new to us. As a journalist, my idea of putting the statement was to provide additional info on what they have to say about us thereby giving both sides of the picture, which is necessary for journalistic writing. However, speaking to the learned members of missile fraternity we discovered that it is a possibility that the Pakistan is ahead of us in the missile development program because much of their so called indigenous products are in reality, exported from China. They experts also told us that unlike the transparent system and strong media of India, Pakistan doesn't have a truly developed media system, thus much of their work is a close guarded secret and its no secret that they have been testing missiles of late but their success or failure has never been known in the open.


Indian missiles have been developed over the years, not with one, but many failures. But in the end, DRDO has been successful in developing effectively deployable missiles. In the early years, success came with short range missiles only, but now we're experiencing success even with the longer range ones.

Pakistan is ahead of India in missile technology, some military analysts in India have themselves accepted. But here are two of quite a few questions:

1. Despite having long range missiles, how come they do not have the capability to launch a dumb rocket into space? Last time I checked, they do not have any launch vehicles for satellites. They only have missiles that can reach the south of India, 1000s of miles away. Space is only 100KM. Does this ring any bells for you?

2. Every missile wielding nation, including Russia, US, have all faced failures. How come none of the Pakistani missiles are ever reported to have failed?

My dear friend, it's easy to paint a missile green than make it yourself. All of Pakistani Missiles are either Chinese or North Korean designs.

And even with the shorter range missiles, Pakistan can be showered with missiles throughout it's width and length!! We already have the superiority in this field.


Debdatta Sen, I was going to say exactly that. A country's missile technology is directly related to its progress in space technology.

And what is Pakistan's progess on the space front? Absolutely, nothing, zero, nada.

Are we to believe that Pakistan doesn't want to launch spy satellites? Or, doesn't see the threat of space warfare? Or doesn't want its own communication statellites? Or doesn't want its own remote satellites? No, Pakistan, wants all of those but is incapable of getting them because it doesn't have the requisite rocket technology to put anything in space.

So, where do they get their missiles from? The answer is simple. Only, one country is stupid enough to give that country those arms.

There is an old saying in India, snake bites the hand of the person who feeds it milk (hope I've put it in a right way)...one day Paks will bite back china...hope they realize soon

Following criticisms to the last statement by our readers, 8ak spoke to various serving personnel specifically about this topic and we will do an article about this.

In short, the consensus seems to be that while India is developing the missile technology, Pakistan just gets given/buys the technology. So while India has the advantage on not relying on others for critical technology, Pak will have advanced missile tech from China and North Korea and where possible it can arm-twist other nations.

Complicating the matter is the fact that Pakistan does not have a free (relatively!) press like India, and as @Jay made a great point, their missile failures or even reliability of their stocks are never reported. So it is difficult to compare the two countries.

As @Akshay said, 8ak believes that Pakistan media tends to give Pak point of view and India tends to give India's point of view. It is 8ak's endeavour to give all sides of the view and present as unbiased a view as possible.

You're quoting from a Pakistani site regarding "superiority" of Pakisatani missile program? :))
Defence.pk is not what you can call unbiased, correct source of information. Pakistani missiles are just repainted North Korean and Chinese misiles
You have not mentioned successfully deployed Surface to Air misile Akash and anti-tank missile Nag.

Pakis will say a lot of stupid stuff. The journalist must be wise enough not to publish anything and everything spitted by the beared Jihadis of many forums. It is called common sense. Atleast in the future in the name of viewpoints, don't become a stupid of yourself. Let commonsense prevail. Also I would like to point out about your last point that there is a big difference between a Jihadi point of view and Dharmic point of view. The first one is a lie (you need not have to publish such stupidity if you stand for Dharma and righteousness and you can believe the Dharmic viewpoint from the secular democratic republic of India.)

Buddy it's sad that you don't understand the issue. There can be so called experts. Yes indeed the Pakis are getting the required missiles from China but that never means they have the technology to develop missiles. They may have setup with Chinese assistance the required infra to assemble Chinese missiles. Also in ballistic missiles numbers don't count as much. India not only has tested anti-ballistic missiles to test to stop the Paki missiles but at the same time has got missiles with higher payloads. With the MIRVed warheads (let it be n) (introduction with Agni-V), one single Agni-V will be able to nuke multiple cities (say n). So for Pakistan to be equivalent to India in missile numbers then they must have n number of missiles. Also the Indian missiles are far accurate than the western world which increases its lethality. The last test of Agni-III is said to be accurate upto the last decimal meaning it may have hit the target with pin point accuracy). -- Here you don't even need a warhead on the missile to target Kiyani's musharaff. lol

A simple correction. Beard Jihadi's be replaced with Bearded/Non-bearded

"However, India has not got much headway in its ambitious missile development program as it lags behind its hostile neighbour Pakistan, which has a far more superior missile program compared to India as reported by Defence.pk."


I cant stop laughing! Defence.pk?!! Some hardcore jihadis runs that site.

chinese may gave some missiles to pakis but chinese missile themselves have shortcomings. so chinese missiles on paki hand does not mean they are superior. those self contained 'experts' does not know the m of missile. There is not a single missle in paki hand that is superior to Indias. Our rockter reach 400000 km away to the moon, we are going to test 6000 km ICBM, we have missile defence, now did pakis ever built a anti-tank missile?

8ak, the last 3 comments were not by me, someone else used that name to post those comments.

Your faithful reader,
The real Vijay

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