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India tests nuclear-capable missile

AFP
Friday October 05, 2007

India Friday successfully test fired the short-range variant of its nuclear-capable Agni-1 ballistic missile which can strike most targets in rival Pakistan, a defence official said.

The Agni-1, which has a range of 700 kilometres (420 miles), was launched from Wheeler Island at mid-morning off the eastern state of Orissa, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"The test matched all mission objectives," said the official.

Wheeler Island lies 180 kilometres (116 miles) northeast of Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar.

The Agni -- Sanskrit for fire -- is an intermediate range ballistic missile that can be fired from mobile launchers.

The official described Friday's test of the 12-metre (39-foot) missile which can carry a one-ton payload as a "user trial" for the army.

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In April, India staged a successful test of Agni-III, its longest range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead more than 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles).

India, which held nuclear weapons tests in 1998, has developed a series of nuclear and conventional missile systems as part of a missile development programme launched in 1983.

The Agni is one of five missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The others are the Prithvi (Earth), the surface-to-air Trishul (Trident), multi-purpose Akash (Sky), and the anti-tank Nag (Cobra).

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan routinely carry out missile tests and normally notify each other in advance. Two of their three wars have been over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

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