Visakhapatnam: India will test an advanced version of the indigenous Agni-III ballistic missile with an enhanced strike range, in excess of 5000 km, early on in 2009. Without actually saying it in so many words this Agni version will be India's first ICBM.
A genuine ICBM with a range in excess of 6,000 km is in the pipeline and is often referred to in the media as the Surya. It's existence is not officially confirmed, however.
According to Dr VK Saraswat, chief controller (strategic systems) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) the enhanced range version is currently at the design stage. "We are looking for trials in early 2009," he told reporters on the sidelines of the 95th Indian Science Congress here.
Dr Saraswat also mentioned that after the acceptance of the medium-range surface-to-air missile Akash by the Indian Air Force, the Indian Army would start user trials for the sophisticated anti-tank Nag missiles this summer.
"User trials for Nag will be held in May-June in the Rajasthan desert," Saraswat said.
Nag is an all weather anti-tank guided missile. Design work on the missile started in 1988 and the first tests were carried out in November 1990.