India test-fires Agni-V ICBM, hails ‘major boost’ to military power

India test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile Thursday, its defense minister announced in a tweet that heralded “a major boost” to the country's military capabilities.

The 3,100-mile-range Agni-V was launched at 9:53 a.m. local time (11:23 p.m. Wednesday ET) from Abdul Kalam island, Raksha Mantri said.

The country has 120-130 nuclear warheads in its stockpile, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

Image: The missile was launched from Abdul Kalam island, which lies off the country's east coast.
Abdul Kalam island is located off India's east coast. Google Maps

Indian news channel NDTV said Thursday’s launch confirmed India’s place in "the super-exclusive club of countries with ICBMs" citing the U.S., Britain, Russia, China and France as other members.

In a tweet, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said the "successful" test would make "every Indian very proud" and "boost our strategic defense."

India boasts a million-man army.

Separated after a bloody partition as they gained independence from Britain in 1947, India and neighboring Pakistan have fought wars in 1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999, besides countless skirmishes, mostly over the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2016, India announced a series of "surgical strikes" in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

Pakistan last year announced it had fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile.

Image: Agni-V Missile
An Agni-V missile. Pallava Bagla / Corbis via Getty Images file