New Delhi: India is developing a 5,000
km-range Agni ballistic missile, Defence Minister A K Antony
said on Friday.
"India has reached an appreciable level of
competence in missile technologies, with a reach capability of
3,500 kilometres. Defence Research and Development
Organisation (DRDO) is developing Agni missile with a
capacity to reach 5000 kilometres," he said here.
The Defence Minister was addressing a conference of
heads of DRDO laboratories.
Under its missile development programme, India is
developing ballistic missiles with longer ranges and had
recently successfully test-fired the 3,500 km-range Agni-III
missile from a launch facility. The Agni-series also includes
missile variants with ranges between 700 and 2,500 km.
The 5,000 km-range Agni-V is a further advancement of
the existing systems and is expected to be test-fired later
this year, sources said.
Other missiles developed by the DRDO are the Prithvi
and its variants with ranges upto 350 km, surface-to-air Akash
missile defence system with a range of 25-30 km and the short-
range anti-tank NAG missile.
The Trishul air defence missile system programme was
scrapped by the DRDO after it was marred by delays.
In his address, the Defence Minister asked the DRDO to
speed up the development trials and induction of Interceptor
Missile as part of the credible Ballistic Missile Defence
To reduce cases of suicides and fratricides in the
armed forces, Antony asked the DRDO to to undertake a detailed
research program to make an assessment of stress profile and
mental health of the soldiers.
"I have asked one of the life sciences laboratories of
DRDO to undertake extensive psychological research to optimise
stress profile and enhance mental health of soldiers. The
objective is to reduce incidents of suicides and fratricides
among soldiers," he said.
The suicide and fratricide rates in the early part of
the decade were high, but due to sustained efforts by the
Defence Ministry, they had come down significantly in last few
years, according to officials.