India's Nuclear-Capable Agni-5 Ballistic Missile Aces Test Launch

India successfully tested a long-range ballistic missile, the country's Ministry of Defence announced Thursday (Jan. 18).

The ballistic missile, called Agni-5, launched Thursday morning from a road-mobile launcher based on Abdul Kalam Island in India's eastern state of Odisha, Indian defense ministry officials said. The missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead, flew about 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) in 19 minutes, The New York Times reported.

"All objectives of the mission have been successfully met," defense ministry officials said. "This successful test of Agni-5 reaffirms the country's indigenous missile capabilities and further strengthens our credible deterrence."

Thursday's test launch marked the fifth successful flight of an Agni-5 missile. The missile is 55 feet (17 meters) long and the most advance missile in the Agni series, The New York Times reported. Its name, "Agni," means "fire" in Hindi, the Times added.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind hailed the successful launch on Twitter.

"Successful test firing of Agni-V ICBM makes every Indian very proud," Kovind wrote in the post. "It will boost our strategic defence."

Ballistic missiles are rocket-launched weapons designed to launch high into space and re-enter the atmosphere to strike targets thousands of miles away.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.