[22 March 2024] The Hindu Op-ed: New capabilities: India and the Agni-V with MIRV


PYQ Relevance:

Mains:Q) Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India. (2022)

Prelims:Which reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2015)

(1) It is a surface-to-surface missile.

(2) It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.

(3) It can deliver one-tonne nuclear warheads about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a)1 only (b)2 and 3 only (c)1 and 3 only (d)1, 2 and 3


Prelims: Agni-V;

Mains: Defence and Security; India’s Development in Science and Technology;

Mentor comments: Dr. Kalam was instrumental in the development of indigenous radar systems and led the development of key missiles like Agni, Prithvi, Akash, and Trishul. Agni missiles, developed by the DRDO, have been integral to India’s defense arsenal since the early 1990s. The latest variant of Agni-V incorporates Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, a sophisticated capability possessed by only a handful of countries globally. Interestingly, MIRV technology enables a single missile to target multiple locations primarily aimed at countering threats from China.

Let’s learn.

Why in the News?

On March 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used social media to announce India’s entry into a small club of countries capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads on a single missile.


  • This was accomplished with the maiden flight test of Agni-V, India’s longest-range ballistic missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometers.
  • It enhances its capability with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology under ‘Mission Divyastra’ by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Features of Mission Divyastra:

  • Indigenous Technology: The MIRV system incorporates indigenous avionics systems and high-accuracy sensor packages to ensure precise targeting of re-entry vehicles.Range and Technology: Agni-V has a range of over 5,000 kilometers and features multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology.Maiden Flight Test: DRDO conducted the maiden flight test of Agni-V, India’s longest-range ballistic missile, as part of ‘Mission Divyastra.’Development of canisterization: Since its first test in April 2012, Agni-V has undergone several developments, including canisterization for improved handling and operation.

Significance for India:

  • Economic Perspective: The pursuit of advanced missile technologies, including MIRV capability, represents a significant investment in defense research and development. While it enhances India’s security, it also entails substantial financial costs and resource allocation, which must be managed effectively.
  • National Perspective:
    • Strategic Autonomy: By advancing its indigenous missile technology, including MIRV capability, India reduces its dependence on external suppliers for critical defense requirements.
    • No-First-Use Policy: India’s nuclear doctrine, based on a no-first-use policy, emphasizes credible minimum deterrence and massive retaliation in case of a second strike. MIRV-equipped missiles contribute to the credibility of India’s nuclear deterrence.
  • Asian Perspective:
    • Regional Security Dynamics: The deployment of MIRV-equipped missiles by India could potentially influence the strategic calculus of neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan, and contribute to stability or escalation depending on how it is perceived and managed.
    • China Factor: The choice of MIRV technology on Agni-V underscores India’s strategic focus on China, given the missile’s range and capability to overcome missile defenses. It serves as a deterrent against potential aggression from China and reinforces India’s strategic posture in the region.
  • Global Perspective:
    • Non-proliferation Norms: India’s successful development and deployment of MIRV technology on Agni-V enhance its standing as a responsible nuclear-armed state capable of safeguarding its security interests.
    • Completion of Nuclear Triad: India achieved the nuclear triad with the deployment of INS Arihant, its first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, in 2018. The addition of MIRV technology to Agni-V further enhances India’s nuclear triad capabilities, providing diversified and robust nuclear deterrence.

Conclusion: India’s entry into the MIRV club through the successful test of Agni-V under ‘Mission Divyastra’ marks a significant milestone, enhancing its nuclear deterrence capabilities and showcasing indigenous technological prowess on the global stage.

Source- https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/new-capabilities-india-and-the-agni-v-with-mirv/article67976702.ece


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