The Agni-5, named for the Hindu god of fire, has a range of more than 3,000 miles, and the test-firing could take place as early as Tuesday night, military officials said.
“The Indians already have a credible deterrent against the Pakistanis,” said Tim Brown of Globalsecurity.org, a Virginia-based think tank, referring to New Delhi’s existing arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles.
“The ultimate aim is to deter China,” he said.
The three-stage, solid-fuel rocket will be launched from a test range on Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha, the Hindu newspaper reported.
U.S. officials believe the Agni missile series is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and India is estimated to have up to 100 nuclear weapons, built using plutonium.
India says it has a “no first use” policy with regard to nuclear weapons.
The test is part of India’s efforts to build a triad of nuclear weapons, including missiles, bombers and submarines, said Poornima Subramaniam, Asia-Pacific armed forces analyst for IHS Jane’s.
North Korea tested a long-range rocket Friday, but it crashed into the sea shortly after its launch.