India is developing a ballistic missile capable of delivering multiple nuclear warheads to several targets, a senior defence official said on Friday.

Having successfully test-fired Agni V last year, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is now developing a new, longer-range missile equipped with the so-called Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology.

The missile, dubbed Agni VI, would have a range of 5,500-6,000 kilometers, defence analysts said.

“Agni V is a major strategic defence weapon. Now we want to make Agni VI which would be a force multiplier,” DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat told a press conference at the international air exhibition, Aero India.

“Work is on in this area and designs have been completed. We are now in the hardware realisation phase,” he added.

Scientists are also developing a cruise missile defence programme which would enable the armed forces to defend against low-flying cruise missile and enemy aircraft and anti-radiation missile for the Indian Air Force, Saraswat said.

The announcement is the latest in a series of new weapons systems and projects unveiled by India as it weighs ‘future threats’ in its backyard, particularly from neighboring Pakistan and China.

India launched Agni V in April last year in what security analysts described as a “clear message to Beijing”.