New Delhi: India test-fired a surface-to-surface, nuclear-capable missile from a range off the Orissa coast, putting the South Asian country in the group of nations with intermediate-range ballistic capabilities.
Before lift-off: The Agni-III missile before its third flight launch system at Wheeler Island on Wednesday.
Agni III, with a range of 3,000km, was fired successfully from Wheeler Island in the morning on Wednesday, the defence ministry said in an emailed statement in New Delhi.
India’s space and missile programmes, coupled with economic growth close to 9% and a bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, is part of the country’s efforts to build up defences and establish itself as a world power. The launch “added yet another dimension to the national deterrence,” the ministry said.
The 17m-long, 2m-wide missile has a two-stage solid propellant system and can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes. The missile reached the target in 800 seconds, travelling at a peak height of 350km.
This is Agni III’s third flight test after the missile failed its first one in 2006. The second test of the missile on 12 April 2007 was successful.
The test was a “complete success and met all the mission objectives,” the release said, citing missile programme director Avinash Chander.
“With this flight, the developmental flights of Agni III are complete and the system is ready for induction.”
India has fought three wars with Pakistan and one with China. While differences over border rows remain, India and China have improved ties in recent years. India and Pakistan have tested a series of missiles since 2002, when the two nations came close to a fourth war.