New Delhi: India on Monday expressed “deep concern" over North Korea launching a long-range rocket carrying what it called a satellite but what its neighbours and the US suspect was a long-range missile.

“While countries have the right to exploit outer space for peaceful purposes, this must be in accordance with international obligations. We call upon the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea) to refrain from such actions, which adversely affect peace and stability in the region," the Indian foreign ministry statement said.

The North Korea test prompted South Korea and the United States to state that they would explore whether to deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea “at the earliest possible date".

The US Strategic Command said it had detected a missile entering space, and South Korea’s military said the rocket had put an object into orbit.

North Korea said the launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-4, named after late leader Kim Jong-il, was a “complete success" and it was making a polar orbit of Earth every 94 minutes. The launch order was given by his son, leader Kim Jong-un.

India has close economic and commercial links with South Korea and Japan besides other countries in the region, which makes peace in the region an imperative.

India has a diplomatic presence in Pyongyang and wields limited influence over the country though it has sent food aid to North Korea as part of the World Food Programme initiative.

India has long suspected that North Korea has traded ballistic missile parts and technology with Pakistan for designs of gas centrifuges and other parts needed to make highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Close