India Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile

India has successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

The nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-II was fired from a mobile launcher from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast on Tuesday morning defense sources said.

India claims that it faces threats from both Pakistan, which is reportedly developing a nuclear and missile program of its own, and China, with which a long-running dispute over the Himalayan border has erupted in recent years.

Press TV reports: The test was carried out by the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistic support provided by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Local media reports said that the entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal.

The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tons and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 kms.

The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services. The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.

In January, India said it had successfully test-fired its longest-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. The home-grown missile had a strike range of 5,000 kilometers.

The latest missile tests are expected to fuel already heightened tensions between neighbors Pakistan and India.

Pakistan and India have routinely tested ballistic missiles since they first became nuclear capable respectively in 1998 and 1974.

Neither of the neighbors has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or other international regulatory pacts that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.

India considers the NPT as discriminatory, while Pakistan has indicated that it will not join the international treaty until its neighbor does.