The 17-metre (56-foot) Agni V, with a range of more than 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles), was launched at 8:05 (0235 GMT) from a test site off the eastern state of Orissa, said an official at the site who declined to be identified.
"It will take some time to know whether it has been successful," the official added.
India views the 50-tonne Agni V as a major boost to its regional power aspirations and one that narrows -- albeit slightly -- the huge gap with China's technologically advanced missile systems.
A successful test would leave India knocking at the door of a select club of nations with inter-continental ballistic missiles ( ICBMs) with ranges of up to 8,000km.
Currently only the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- possess a declared ICBM capability.