India’s medium-range, nuclear-capable Agni-2 ballistic missile has entered full-scale production and is being integrated into the Indian armed forces, according to a letter by Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes dated March 14. It is not known whether the missile has been outfitted with a nuclear warhead.
In a written reply to a query posed by a member of the Indian parliament, Fernandes confirmed that the missile, most recently tested in January 2001, had “entered [the] production phase and is currently under induction.” After last year’s test, the Indian Defense Ministry stated that the missile had reached its “final operational configuration.” (See ACT, March 2001.)
Although Indian officials had stated after the January 2001 test that the missile would be introduced into the Indian arsenal later that year, the Defense Ministry later amended that estimate, noting that the planned “induction” would occur during 2001 or 2002.
The road-mobile, two-stage, solid-fueled Agni-2 is New Delhi’s most advanced missile system. It is capable of delivering a 1,000-kilogram payload more than 2,000 kilometers, allowing it to reach targets throughout Pakistan and much of western China.
India’s most recent missile test occurred in January 2002, when it tested a short-range variant of the Agni-1 missile. (See ACT, March 2002.)