Bhubaneswar: India carried out a successful test on Thursday of its longest-range ballistic missile, Agni III, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead more than 3,000km, scientists said.
Defence analysts say Agni III is primarily designed to counter the military strength of China, which also has nuclear weapons, while shorter-range versions of the missile have been developed with long-time rival Pakistan in mind.
The launch of the longest-range Agni came after a failed test last July. “Yes, the test was absolutely successful,” said W. Selvamurthy, a senior official of the Defence Research and Development Organization, which designed the missile. The missile was launched from Wheeler island off India’s eastern coast.
Shortly after Agni III was test-fired, China urged India to promote peace and stability in Asia. “As for the ballistic missile test of India, we have noted the reports,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing.
He refused to comment further on the test. “We hope India, as a country with an important influence in this region, can work to maintain and promote peace and stability in the region,” Qin said.
Agni III is the missile with the longest reach in South Asia and more powerful than any missile in Pakistan’s arsenal. However, China has missiles with a longer reach.
PTI and AFP also contributed to this story.