New Delhi: Moving a step closer to completing its nuclear triad, India today successfully test fired a ballistic missile, with a strike range of around 1500 kilometres, from an underwater platform in Bay of Bengal.
"The medium range K-5 ballistic missile was test fired successfully today from an underwater pontoon and all parameters of the test firing were met," DRDO chief V K Saraswat told PTI from the undisclosed test area.
Nuclear triad is the ability to fire nuclear-tipped missiles from land, air and sea.
Saraswat said that the development phase of the K-5 missile, which is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), was over and it was now ready for deployment on various platforms including the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant which is under development.
K-5 is part of the family of underwater missiles being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian strategic forces' underwater platforms. This missile will help India to achieve the capability of launching nuclear warheads from underwater facilities. This is the first missile in the underwater category to have been developed by India. So far, India had the capability of delivering nuclear weapons from land and aerial platforms only.
India has a no-first-use policy for nuclear weapons and the development of an SLBM boosts its retaliatory strike capability, experts said.
India is also developing two more underwater missiles including K-15 and Brahmos with strike ranges of 750
kilometres and 290 kilometres respectively. India has for some time possessed the Agni series of ballistic missiles as well as fighter-bomber aircraft to constitute the land and air-based legs of the nuclear triad.
India had on April 19, last year made a giant stride when it test-fired nuclear-capable Agni-V Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile that has brought China within its reach with a strike range of over 5000 km.
This missile also gives India the capability to hit targets in eastern Europe, east Africa and the Australian coast.