India launches nuke capable long-range missile
NEW DELHI – India on Thursday successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable long range missile that can reach Beijing and Eastern Europe, thus entering into a small elite club of nations that have the capability to strike at a long distance . The over 5,000-km range Agni-V was launched from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast in eastern India and took about 20 minutes to hit its target somewhere near Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. Officials said the launch was “flawless”.
“The ships located in mid-range and at the target point have tracked the vehicle (missile) and witnessed the final event,” Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesman Ravi Gupta said. With this, India joins an elite nuclear club of China, Russia, France, the US and the UK that have the capability to hit long distance targets with nuclear weapons albeit with a much greater range.
Not only this, India also emerged as a major missile powerhouse of the world because Agni-V is almost entirely India made, developed over the last four years. The missile carries a warhead weighing more than a tonne.
Dubbed as “China killer” the missile has been developed primarily with a threat from the eastern neighbour in mind. It will not be operational for at least two years.
China’s Foreign Ministry reacted with caution and said the two countries should “work hard to uphold friendly strategic cooperation”, and for peace and stability in the region.
“China and India are large developing nations. We are not competitors but partners,” spokesman Liu Weimin said when asked about the missile test at a briefing in Beijing.