New Delhi: India again successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable missile Sunday that can hit targets across much of Asia and the Middle East, an official said.
It was the fourth test of the Agni III missile, the official at the Defence Research and Development Organization said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. The first attempt in 2006 failed, but last two tests were successful.
India’s current arsenal of missiles is largely intended for confronting archrival Pakistan. The Agni III, in contrast, is India’s longest-range missile, designed to reach 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) — putting China’s major cities well into range, as well as Middle Eastern targets.
India’s homegrown missile arsenal already includes the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile, the medium-range Akash, the anti-tank Nag and the supersonic Brahmos missile, developed jointly with Russia.
The missile was launched from Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa on Sunday morning.
The test appeared unlikely to significantly raise tensions in the region.
Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan usually notify each other ahead of such missile launches, in keeping with an agreement between the two nations. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.
The two sides began talks aimed at resolving their differences over the Himalayan region of Kashmir and other disputes in 2004. India put the peace process on hold soon after terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
India recently offered to restart peace talks, though Pakistan has yet to formally accept.