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.
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