The test launch of India’s most potent and long range nuclear capable missile, Agni-V, had to be postponed due to the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US on June 6. This has attracted much discontent in India.
According to a news report of May 8 in “New Indian Express” attributed to reliable sources in the DRDO, the last developmental trial of the indigenously built “Agni-V” missile would be conducted after the PM returns from his US visit. Although the missile is ready to display its fire power, defence sources said the test has been delayed for over six months for strategic reasons. Earlier planned in December last year, the test was postponed due to the visit of US President Barack Obama. This year early in January, Modi was prepared to witness the launch along with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, but it was further postponed due to the busy schedule of Modi.
A source said, while the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs have already given green signal for the test, the DRDO has not yet received any confirmation from the Prime Minister’s Office.
This time, further delay in the experimental launch of “Agni-V” has irked defence and strategic experts. They believe that the decision at the highest levels of Government to put the test on hold was due to Washington’s supposed “allergy” to rising powers like India displaying their distant strike capabilities. Security expert at India’s Centre for Policy Research, Bharat Karnad said: “Last year’s test was postponed in order not to upset Obama during his Delhi visit. Now it has been put on hold because Prime Minister does not want his upcoming visit to the US to be marred by the launch of a missile, which President Obama may deem provocative. He (Modi) seems more eager to please Washington than to strengthen India’s strategic muscle vis-a-vis China” ( Hou Tao)