India tests missile that can hit China

Bhubaneswar, May 7:

India successfully tested a nuclear-capable missile today 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 this 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-km range, can carry conventional or nuclear payloads of 1.5 tones, 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 meters per second,” said Kar. The Agni-III was first tested in 2006. In today’s test, 180 km northeast of Orissa’s state capital Bhubaneswar, “all the sub-systems of the missile functioned in a copybook manner, giving an outstanding integrated performance of the missile in terms of range and accuracy,” Kar said.