Today, India is all set to test its much discussed Agni-V : 5000+ km range Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) joining the league of five other nations who have done it already: US, UK, France, Russia and China. With Agni-V, India will extend it’s reach all over Asia, Africa and Europe. Given it’s lethal power, it can be launched only on the direct orders from the Prime Minister.
We are all proud alright for our country’s achievement (Hats off to the DRDO and Agni’s creator His Excellency Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam). But the question is, shouldn’t we be concerned about the proliferation of these weapons? If Agni-V becomes the weapon of peace and not of war, we are doing things right. We all know that India has the history of non-aggression and self-defense. But with China upping the ante in recent times by deploying missiles in Tibet Autonomous Region bordering India; and Pakistan of course getting weapons from the west in the name of ‘fighting terrorism‘, it’s only in India’s defense to be making more of these Agnis.
To look at our Agni-V, it travels faster than a bullet and can carry 1,000 kilograms of nuclear weapons. Enough to drain life from earth? It can be configured to launch small satellites and can be used later even to shoot down enemy satellites in orbits. Seventeen metres tall, Agni-V’s three-stages are powered by solid propellants. The first rocket engine takes it to a height of about 40 kilometres. The second stage pushes it to about 150 kilometres. The third stage takes it to about 300 kilometers above the Earth. The missile finally reaches a height of about 800 kilometers.
As I look at it, I feel both secure and insecure at the same time. I’m proud of this achievement alright, but then sharp knives can both hurt you and serve you, depending on the way you hold them. I just hope it serves not only India, but the humanity that believes in peaceful living.