India needs a strong ICBM capability
As for the strategist the question would be: Can India hit China where it hurts? The answer to that would be a confident ‘Yes’. With a range of ”more than” 5,000 km, India has the measure of most of China with its intermediate range ballistic missile the Agni-V and does not, per se, need an inter-continental ballistic missile to ensure deterrence vis-a-vis the Chinese.
The only reason why India would need an ICBM to deal with China would be to be able to base its missile deep within Indian territory, say around Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh or deeper still in Nagpur in Maharastra in central India, to keep it out of harm’s way from a pre-emptive strike by China. By deploying its missiles aimed at Beijing and other industrial and shipping centres along the Chinese Pacific Ocean coastline so deep India would buy time for its anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defences to intercept Chinese ICBMs at the highest point (apogee) of their trajectory or mid-course interception.
As per the practice of designating missiles by the length of th
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