The agni missile displayed at the last Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi
INDIAN newspapers on Friday (April 20) trumpeted the launch of a new long-range, nuclear-capable missile as a sign of New Delhi’s emerging power, while others warned about misplaced triumphalism.
“Indiagoes ballistic,” headlined the English-language tabloid Mail Today over a full-page photo of the Agni V missile lifting off on Thursday (April 19) from its launch site in Orissa.
“The entire nation joined the defence scientists in cheering the path-breaking feat,” it said. “And India proudly declared that it had taken a giant stride in security preparedness by developing a strategic deterrent against potential threats.”
“Missile Muscle” said the front-page headline on The Indian Express broadsheet, while the Times of India declared that the “Agni V roars into elite ICBM club.”
Indiahad “yanked open the door to the super exclusive ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) club that counts only the US, Russia, China, France and the UK as its members.”
ICBMs are the most advanced and long-range missile systems, but the Agni V will need to increase its range to 5,500 km (3,400 miles) from its current 5,000 km and be further tested to be classified in this category.
In the Hindi-language media, the daily Hindustan's headline read “Jai Hind” (Hail India) while the Dainik Jagran said "Half the world in our range".
“Agni V is the latest product of Brand India. The successful test is now a cause of worry for our enemies because they will have to think a hundred times before attacking us,” said the Dainik Jagran.
The Agni V was test-fired on Thursday (April 19) morning in a 20-minute flight that took it southeast over the Bay of Bengal and then to its pre-determined landing position in the southern Indian Ocean, officials said.
It was tracked by ships along its route and was declared a success by India’s state defence hardware developer and the government, which claimed that it was “a major milestone in India’s missile programme”.
But commentator Manoj Joshi, writing in the Mail Today, said India should not take the claims of success at face value from the defence establishment.
“These are all meaningless and needlessly boastful claims,” he wrote, referring to comments from officials on Thursday (April 19) about the Agni V being a “game changer and a technological marvel”.
“As of now all we know independently is that the missile did take off. Where it landed is of course a secret,” he explained.
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