The Agni effect

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The successful test-firing of the nuclear-capable Agni V missile, which has a range of 5,000km and can carry a payload of 1.5 tons, is a proud moment for India. While this is only the first test and the missile is still some distance away from production and deployment, the fact remains that this is the first time India has tested a weapon system that has the capability to reach all of China, the giant to the north who often seems to delight in needling the country.

Expectedly, the Chinese have reacted with anger and disdain, with some officials warning that the test will fuel an arms race and others saying India is hardly competition. Both reactions miss the point. Though it is true that the border dispute with China has a long and complicated history and New Delhi isnít entirely blameless, it is also true that India has never harboured a desire to get into a violent competition with Beijing. China, however, has not been able to inspire much confidence about its motives in an Indian population that is still to live down the humiliation of 1962 despite its great love of Chinese food and cheap Chinese products.

But the mere testing of a missile may not resolve all problems between India and China. That is a long-drawn process that calls for strong political will, extended negotiations, and some give and take. Agni V, however, will provide a psychological boost for India, which can now feel a little more confident in its dealings with the dragon.

Courtesy: †dnaindia


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