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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is making significant strides in bolstering the country’s nuclear deterrence capabilities with the development of the K-5 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The K-5, currently under development, boasts an impressive range of 5,000 kilometres. This extended reach allows Indian submarines to launch attacks from a greater distance, enhancing their survivability and strategic deterrence.

The K-5 will be equipped with MIRV (Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle) technology. This allows a single missile to carry and deploy multiple independently targeted warheads. This significantly complicates missile defence systems, making interception considerably more challenging.

The K-5 is specifically designed to integrate with the Nuclear submarines, also known as the S4 class. This strengthens the overall capability of India’s nuclear triad, which consists of land, air, and sea-based delivery systems for nuclear weapons.

India’s development of MIRV technology is primarily seen as a defensive measure to ensure the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrence. MIRV capability, even with dummy warheads in training exercises, demonstrates an assured second-strike capability, potentially discouraging aggression and adhering to the principles of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

While the K-4 SLBM with a range of 3,500 kilometers can strike targets in southern China, the K-5 fulfills a critical strategic need. Its extended range allows Indian submarines to launch attacks on targets deep within China’s mainland even while operating farther from Chinese coastlines, enhancing survivability and operational flexibility.

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