India finally plans to test its most ambitious strategic missile Agni-V, with near ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capabilities, this December after some delay. With high road mobility, fast-reaction ability and a strike range over 5,000 km, Agni-V would even bring China’s northernmost regions within its nuclear strike envelope. The armed forces are already inducting the two-stage 3,500-km Agni-III after completion of its developmental and pre-induction trials last year, having earlier operationalised the Pakistan-specific Agni-I (700-km) and Agni-II (over 2,000-km) missiles. The Agni-V, in turn, is meant to add some much-needed credible deterrence muscle against China, which has a massive nuclear arsenal with missiles like the 11,200-km Dong Feng-31A capable of hitting any Indian city. For one, it will be easy to store and swiftly transport the 17.5-metre tall Agni-V by road since it’s a canister-launch missile system, unlike the earlier Agni missiles. For another, Agni-V would also carry MIRV (multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles) payloads being concurrently developed. A single MIRVed missile can deliver multiple warheads at different targets even if they are separated by long distances.