The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has finalised the design for a 1,500-kilometer range conventionally armed ballistic missile.
A report in the Hindustan Times says that the DRDO is now waiting for approval from the government to move to the development stage.
According to the report, the missile will have an anti-ship variant capable of targeting warships in the Indian Ocean.
India already has a series of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, including the 5,000-km range Agni-V, which can target most of China, including Beijing.
It also has nuclear-capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM) for its ballistic missile submarines or SSBNs.
These include the 750-km range K-15 Sagarika SLBM, which can target some parts of China from the northern parts of the Bay of Bengal, and the K-4 SLBM, which has a stated range of 3,500 km.
However, the new missile developed by the DRDO is different from these as it is a conventionally armed weapon.
When deployed in the coastal region, the new missile's 1,500-km range will allow it to target enemy warships in large part of the Indian Ocean.
If deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it could be used to target enemy warships entering the Indian Ocean region from various chokepoints like the Sunda Strait and Lombok Strait.
The development comes at a time when China's presence in the Indian Ocean is on the rise. Last month, the docking of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship in Sri Lanka caused much disquiet in India.
China is deploying a range of anti-ship ballistic missiles, including DF-21D, often referred to as 'carrier killer', to deter the United States in the South China Sea and western Pacific. These anti-ship missiles can be launched from the Chinese mainland or the several artificial islands developed and militarised by China in the South China Sea.
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