The launch is unlikely to draw the kind of criticism aimed at North Korea after its own failed long-range rocket launch last week. In fact, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told newspersons from the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does not consider India's missile programme a threat to NATO allies and territory.
Peaceniks and anti-nuclear activists however wonder why a poor country like India should waste money on ICBM development when there are so many other priorities.
''With its focus on economic development rather than its previous policy of territorial expansion, China is hardly likely to nuke India. In any case, India's atomic warheads are no match for China's thermo-nuclear '(H-bomb') devices. So all it amounts to is bravura, which will raise sniggers rather than praise from the nuclear powers,'' said a doctorate student in international politics.
''The theory of nuclear deterrence – or mutual assured destruction (MAD) as it was called during the Cold War era – has long been discredited as pointless, and mainly aimed at raising the defence procurement budget of rich countries. Why is poor India so keen to join that club?'' he further wondered.
China's huge nuclear and missile arsenal includes the Dong Feng-31A ICBM with an 11,200-km range; and able to carry thermonuclear warheads.
According to DRDO head Dr V K Saraswat, it will take another year of testing before Agni-V is fully developed. The DRDO plans to conduct more launch tests of the missile, studying and analysing the parameters achieved in each trial.
Despite the limitations of Agni-V, India now joins an exclusive club of nations that have ICBMs.
So far, only the permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, Russia, France, the US and the UK – officially have IBMs; although Israel probably has developed them as well. Israel's Its nuclear programmes are rarely acknowledged officially; but are quietly accepted by the West.