Wednesday, May 7, 2008

India tests missile with China in mind

India has test-fired its longest-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Agni-III, officials said.
The surface-to-surface missile was test-fired off the coast of Orissa state in eastern India.
With a range of more than 3,000km (1,865 miles), the missile could hit targets as far off as Beijing and Shanghai, analysts say.

ndia's current arsenal of missiles is largely intended for confronting archrival Pakistan. The Agni III, in contrast, is India's longest-range missile, designed to reach 1,900 miles _ putting China's major cities well into range, as well as targets deep in the Middle East.

The missile is one of a series developed as part of India's deterrence strategy against neighbouring China and Pakistan which also have nuclear weapons, analysts say.
India has shorter-range missiles that analysts say were developed to target long-time rival Pakistan with which it has fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
The two neighbours who launched a slow-moving peace process in 2004 aimed at resolving outstanding disputes including over disputed Kashmir often stage tit-for-tat missile tests.
But the development of the Agni III is aimed at displaying that India's deterrent reach can stretch far beyond Pakistan, analysts say.
In the last few years, however, tensions between India and China, which fought a brief border war in 1962, have eased and there is now direct trade through the Himalayas.
The Agni-III is the country's first solid fuel missile that is compact enough for easy mobility.
India's indigenously developed missile arsenal also includes the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile and the medium-range Akash.