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The recent claim by Tanzeela Khalil, a Research Fellow at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, regarding India’s development of Agni-VI with a potential range of 10,000-12,000 km has sparked discussions on the strategic motivations behind such a move. Khalil argues that the development of Agni-VI is challenging to justify solely in terms of enhancing deterrence against China and Pakistan. Instead, she posits that India’s endeavors might be driven by a desire to elevate its global status or to position itself in potential deterrent relationships beyond its immediate neighbors.

The Agni-VI, if developed with a range of 10,000-12,000 km, would mark a significant advancement in India’s missile capabilities. This potential range extends far beyond the immediate threats posed by neighboring nations, raising questions about the strategic rationale behind such an ambitious development. Understanding the geopolitical landscape and India’s regional concerns is crucial in deciphering the possible motives behind the creation of Agni-VI.

Khalil contends that the extended range of Agni-VI challenges its justification in the context of deterring China and Pakistan alone. Both nations have been the primary focus of India’s strategic considerations, and their proximity has shaped much of India’s defense policies. The question arises: why invest in a missile system with a range that exceeds the immediate threat environment?

One plausible explanation for the development of Agni-VI, as suggested by Khalil, is India’s aspiration to match its status with global players. By enhancing its missile capabilities to cover vast distances, India might be positioning itself as a more formidable player in the international arena. Such a move could be driven by a desire for strategic autonomy and recognition as a major global power, allowing India to assert its influence on a broader scale.

Another perspective offered by Khalil is that India might be preparing for eventualities where it finds itself in a deterrent relationship with states beyond Pakistan and China. As the global geopolitical landscape evolves, India may be considering potential challenges from distant adversaries, necessitating a missile system with an extended range. This outlook aligns with India’s growing role in international affairs and its pursuit of comprehensive security strategies.

The development of Agni-VI underscores the delicate balance that India must maintain between its regional security concerns and its global aspirations. As the nation strives to secure its interests in the neighborhood, it simultaneously positions itself to tackle potential challenges on a global scale. The missile system represents a manifestation of India’s evolving role, where security considerations extend beyond immediate borders.

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