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India Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

File image of an Indian missile test.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) March 23, 2008
India on Sunday test fired a medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile capable of hitting most targets in neighbouring Pakistan, a defence official said.

The Agni-1 missile, which has a range of more than 700 kilometres (430 miles), was fired at 10:15 am (0445 GMT) from an island off the coast of the eastern state of Orissa, the official said.

"The user trial of the missile passed the requisite expectations," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Agni -- Sanskrit for "fire" -- is a 12-metre (39-foot) medium-range ballistic missile that can be fired from mobile launchers and can carry a one-tonne warhead.

In April, India staged a successful test of Agni-III, its longest range ballistic missile capable of transporting a nuclear warhead more than 3,000 kilometres, putting targets deep inside China within its reach.

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

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan routinely carry out missile tests, although they normally notify each other in advance.

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US cutting operations at main Pacific missile testing range
Majuro (AFP) March 6, 2008
The cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing the US to cut back operations at its Pacific missile testing range in the Marshall Islands, the range commander said Thursday.

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