Soon after India successfully test-fired nuclear capable Agni-V missile, China for the first time raised up an 18-year-old United Nations Security Council resolution that calls on India and Pakistan to abandon their ballistic missiles program.
Significantly, the resolution was approved under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which means that it is non-binding.
On December 26, India conducted the fourth successful test of Agni-V, which has a range of over 5000 kilometres and can, consequently, reach deep into Chinese territory, as well as entire Pakistan.
“China always maintains that preserving the strategic balance and stability in South Asia is conducive to peace and prosperity of regional countries and beyond,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
Ms. Hua also signaled that there are restrictions imposed by the UN Security Council on India for developing missiles carrying nuclear weapons. Hua hoped that India had complied with the United Nation (UN) rules while testing the latest Agni missile.
Hua ‘s strong worded statement is considered to a strong response from India’s neighbouring country since the first test of the Agni-V in 2012.
Hua also chose to downplay the reports that the missile can strike as far as northern China, by suggesting that Beijing seeks to become “rivals for competition but partners for cooperation.”
She reminded New Delhi that Beijing is willing to work alongside all the South Asian countries, including India, “to maintain the long-lasting peace and stability.”
Taking a dig at China’s own record of missile and nuclear proliferation, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup, said, “India’s strategic capabilities are not targeted against any particular country. India abides by all the applicable international obligations and hopes that all other do the same.”
With Agni-V India has mastered the “shoot-and-scoot” technology wherein the missile is fired from a mobile launcher thus making it difficult for the enemy to track it.
Agni V can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes, three times the minimum weight of an atomic warhead. It is also more survivable to a counterstrike, as it is mounted on a TATRA truck, which imparts mobility, reliability, longer shelf life and less maintenance hassles. The fixed ground-based silos are vulnerable to surveillance and attack.
The Agni-V launch is the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the long-range missile. The first test was carried out on April 19, 2012, the second on September 15, 2013 and the third on January 31, 2015 from the same base.
Commanded by the on-board computer with the support of a highly accurate ring laser gyro based inertial navigation system, the most modern Micro-Inertial Navigation System (MINS), fully digital control system and advanced compact avionics, the missile hit the designated target point accurately, meeting all mission objectives.