India has recently launched its most capable Agni-5 from Orissa's APJ Abdul Kalam island during nighttime. Its weight has been reduced by 20%, now its weight stands at 50,000 kg. With reduced weight its range has also been increased significantly by DRDO, now it is capable to strike beyond 7,000 km, officially it's now a super Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.
In the Agni series, there are several other missiles, its count starts with 1. So the first missile was Agni-I with a range of only 700km. India's Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program was started by Indian legend APJ Abdul Kalam in 1983. The Agni was started under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), and the first Agni missile was tested in 1989 with liquid propulsion. In today's time, liquid propulsion has already lost its place in missile development programs now its place has been taken by solid fuel. Agni is a solid fuel, road-mobile 3-stage ICBM, which is transported by a truck & launched via canister. Agni is an easy-moving missile which is a nightmare for China and Pakistan, especially China. Because according to China this missile is not a 5000km missile which India always states, it is a more than 8000km missile and it is capable of hitting the northern, western, and easternmost points of China. It is not only capable of hitting any points in China this missile is also capable of hitting some parts of southern Russia and almost the entirety of Europe.
Agni-5 is also nuclear-capable. India developed this missle to increase its deterrence against China. India is strengthening its 2nd & 3rd strike capability and is also working on the development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. India already has long-range K series missiles for submarines but India is trying to integrate missiles like Agni-5 into the submarine launching system to increase its range capability. India is a nuclear-capable country but India always follows "no first use policy" like other major nuclear-capable majors of the world. Indian nuclear program is one of the best technologically advanced programs in the world, India is not like irresponsibles Pakistan and North Korea. The test has been carried out to validate new technologies and equipment on the missile which is now lighter than before. According to the Indian defense ministry, Indian Agni is for India's "credible minimum deterrence" against any aggressor nation.
The development of India's Agni-V was hinted at by DRDO scientist M.Natarajan in 2007 when he said India is working on the most upgraded and sophisticated version of Agni-III and it would be ready in 4 years. Indian defense command felt the need to develop this long-range missile because at that time India only had a long-range missile Agni-III, whose range was merely 3000km. Agni-III was unable to penetrate deep into Chinese territory and China at that time already developed long-range intercontinental Dongfeng missile series with a range of 10000 km. Agni-V comes under the strategic force command of the Indian army and it maintains this missile system for its strategic use against any aggressor nation. The development cost of Agni-V was US$ 313 million.
Last time, India tested Agni-V on October 27, 2021, amid Chinese aggression against Indian troops in Galwan. This time India tested this missile again amid an adverse volatile situation with China in India's border region. India never revealed data regarding this missile. India always kept Agni near its chest because of that China is sending its spy ships to the Indian ocean's port of Hambantota, which China captured from Sri Lanka using the famous debt tarp policy. This time they send one of their "Yang Wang" ship right after India's declaration of NOTAM (Notice to Airman/ Notice to Air Missions) to preserve its test slot between December 15 to 18. But, India never took its step back in doing any test amid Chinse nefarious act in the Indian ocean.
India is continuously upgrading its defense arsenal to counter Chinese deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region. Chinse is in a perplexing situation because their economy is dwindling under the pressure of their own creation, Covid. On contrary, India's economy has achieved its peak even after the Covid mishap and the Chinese misadventure against India. India is on the way to developing its own indigenously built third aircraft carrier and India is already developing a ballistic missile defense system that will be able to prevent any missile attack from China and Pakistan. Not only that, Indian defense export is on the way to achieving a $10 billion export value, which will be history in India's prolonged historical timeline. India is achieving its zenith in today's time to make this century India's century.