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Agni-5 launch a major milestone: Antony

New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony today described the maiden test flight of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-5 as an "immaculate success" and a "major milestone".

"The nation stands tall today. We have joined the elite club of nations (to possess the ICBM capability)," Antony told the DRDO Chief Dr V K Saraswat on phone after the test flight of the missile was declared successful today. "The immaculate success of the Agni-5 is a major milestone in the country`s missile research and development programme," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailing the test firing said "Today`s successful Agni V test launch represents another milestone in our quest to add to the credibility of our security and preparedness and to continuously explore the frontiers of science. I congratulate all the scientific and technical personnel of the DRDO and other organisations who have worked tirelessly in our endeavour to strengthen the defence and security of our country."

The about 5,000 km range Agni-5 was launched from a test range at Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha at 08:07 am and took 15 minutes to reach its target in Southern Indian Ocean. The missile achieved all the mission parameters and has turned out to be a huge success, Defence Ministry officials said.

The launch was cancelled on Wednesday night due to bad weather and a spate of heavy lightning in the test range.

Antony also spoke to the Agni-5 project director Dr Avinash Chander and congratulated his entire team for their hard work and dedication. DRDO took four years to develop the missile.

In his conversation with Dr Saraswat and Dr Chander, Antony told them that the nation is proud of its defence scientists and recalled the contributions made by former DRDO chiefs, specially Dr M Natarajan, a brain behind success of various projects such as MBT Arjun and pioneering efforts in LCA Tejas and Pinaka MBRL projects.

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