A day after the successful test of ballistic missile Agni-IV, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said on Wednesday that it would be ready to test 5,000-kilometre range Agni-V by February, putting the country in league with three other countries.

Aimed at boosting the country's strategic defence capability, the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is now undergoing integration. “Our aim is to test-fire by February 2012 and make it available for induction in two years time,” DRDO Director-General V.K. Saraswat said at a press conference here.

The DRDO sees the successful launch of Agni-IV as a building block towards future missile development programmes.

Asked about how it compares to contemporary ICMBs, DRDO officials said besides the United States, Russia and China, no other country had the capacity while France is working on a similar capacity in delivering it underwater.

As to whether the country's missile programme is keeping pace with Pakistan and China, the DRDO chief said India was not in any race based on the number of missiles the neighbours stockpile.

“Our [India] stress is on what missiles we want to protect the country in the event of a crisis. As No First Use is our policy, we need to take care of our requirement” he said emphasising that there was no race as was the case during the Cold War era between the U.S. and erstwhile Soviet Union.

Asked whether the DRDO had benefitted from the removal of some labs from the entities list by the U.S. in the form of technology, he said: “so far there is not much difference.”

Many of the technology earlier denied to India still fell under dual-use, requiring authorisations by the U.S. Departments of Defence and Commerce.

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