The head of India's Air Force is urging his country to build and deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles of up to 10,000 km. range. Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik says getting the ability to nuke distant lands is part of coming of age for an emerging economic superpower.
"India needs the capability to match its sphere of influence, " Indian air force head Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik told the [Hindustan Times].
New Delhi presently intends to limit missiles in its strategic arsenal to ranges of roughly 3,100 miles, enabling the potential delivery of warheads to China and Pakistan, according to the Times.
"There's no point capping the missile program at 5,000 kilometers. If we have the technical capability, we should build on it, " Naik said, becoming the first top-level Indian military officer to promote such a move while still in uniform.
India is also collaborating with Russia on development of a nuclear-capable, hypersonic cruise missile, the Brahmos. The missile is said to reach Mach 5 speeds and to have an effective range of 180 miles. India is looking to fit the missiles to its fleet of Sukhoi SU-30 jet fighters.