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India tests ballistic missile capable of reaching China
uusjio | May 7, 2008 at 06:29 pmby
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India successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile Wednesday that can hit targets deep inside China, joining the ranks of nations possessing intermediate-range missile capacity, the defence ministry said.
It marked the third test of the Agni-III missile -- India's longest-range ballistic missile -- and was staged "to establish the repeatability of the missile's performance," defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar told AFP.
The missile was fired from a mobile launcher Wednesday morning at a testing site on Wheeler Island off the coast of the eastern state of Orissa.
Kar said the launch "propelled India into a select group of countries with intermediate-range ballistic missile capabilities and added yet another dimension to national deterrence."
The missile, which has a 3,000-kilometre (1,860-mile) range, can carry conventional or nuclear payloads of 1.5 tonnes, and puts China's major cities such as Shanghai within striking distance, defence analysts say.
The surface-to-surface projectile reached its designated target in 13 minutes and 20 seconds "travelling through a peak height of 350 kilometres with a velocity of more than 4,000 metres per second," said Kar.
The Agni-III -- Agni means fire in Sanskrit -- was first tested in 2006.
But that first trial of the 1.8 metre-diameter (six-foot) missile was a flop when it rose 12 kilometres before crashing into the Bay of Bengal.
The failure was blamed on a snag with its strapped-on solid fuel booster rocket. India successfully tested the missile in April 2007.
In Wednesday's test ...