New Delhi: India wheeled out a new long-range nuclear missile that can hit anywhere in China and warned rival Pakistan not to take its friendship “for granted” as it celebrated its Republic Day with a big parade Saturday.
India successfully tested last April the Agni V missile, which has a range of 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) and can strike across the Chinese mainland and even hit targets as far away as Europe.
The first appearance in the annual parade of the Agni V — seen as marking a significant upgrade of India’s nuclear deterrent — came along with the display of other military hardware acquired as part of a massive modernisation drive costing tens of billions of dollars.
The parade along New Delhi’s ceremonial Rajpath, or King’s Avenue, also included floats marking India’s rich diversity and a tableau marking 100 years of Indian cinema wrapped in reels of film and embossed with movie names.
Large areas of the capital were sealed off for the celebrations — a traditional show of patriotic fervour — where Bhutan’s king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was the chief guest.
India’s shorter-range Agni I and II were developed with rival Pakistan in mind, while later versions reflect India’s focus on China as well. India and China have prickly ties and a legacy of mistrust stemming from a brief border war in 1962. AFP