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India tests two nuclear-capable missiles

by Staff Writers
Bhubaneswar, India (AFP) March 11, 2011
India tested two short-range nuclear-capable missiles along its eastern coast on Friday, an official said, as part of the nation's efforts to build up its nuclear deterrent.

One missile named Dhanush, which means "archer's bow" in Sanskrit, was fired Friday morning from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off eastern Orissa state.

The second missile, the Prithvi II, or Earth, blasted off soon afterwards from a testing range at Chandipur-on-Sea, 200 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of Bhubaneswar, Orissa's state capital.

"The test of both missiles was successful and met all mission objectives," test range director S.P. Dash told AFP.

Both missiles, which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads, were developed domestically.

The 11-metre (36-foot) Dhanush with a range of 350 kilometres was a variant of the surface-to-surface Prithvi missile developed for the Indian navy.

The 8.5-metre (28-foot) Prithvi-II missile has a range of 150-350 kilometres and can carry a one-tonne payload.

India's Defence Research Development Organisation is developing a series of missiles as part of the country's deterrent strategy against neighbouring Pakistan and China which also have nuclear weapons.

The tests were part of training exercises for the Indian armed forces, defence officials said.

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