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India Tests Nuclear-Capable Surface Missile

File image of a Prithvi class missile.
by Staff Writers
Bhubaneswar (AFP) India, May 9, 2007
India on Wednesday successfully tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from a site in the eastern state of Orissa, defence sources said. The test of the Prithvi-1 (Earth 1) surface-to-surface missile took place at Chandipur-on-sea, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of Orissa's state capital Bhubaneswar.

The 8.5-metre-long (28-foot) missile -- which can carry a one-tonne conventional or nuclear warhead -- can travel 150 kilometres in five minutes and has a range of up to 250 kilometres. It is designed for battlefield use against troops or armoured formations.

An official at the government's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told AFP on condition of anonymity that the test was "part of a continued effort to improve the indigenously-developed missile."

Nuclear-capable India and Pakistan -- which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir -- routinely carry out missile tests and normally notify each other in advance.

The Prithvi is India's first indigenously-built ballistic missile, and one of five being developed by New Delhi, along with the Agni, Trishul, Akash and Nag.

Two other variants of the Prithvi, with a strike range of between 250 and 350 kilometres, will be handed over to the navy and air force once tests are completed.

Last month, India tested the Agni-III, an intermediate range ballistic missile which can reach the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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