India Declares Itself Major Missile Power

India's Agni-V missile lifts off from the launch pad at Wheeler Island off India's east coast, April 19, 2012.
India's Agni-V missile lifts off from the launch pad at Wheeler Island off India's east coast, April 19, 2012.

India Thursday said it successfully test-fired a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as Beijing - announcing itself as a major "missile power."

Indian media showed video of the long-range Agni-V missile in-flight after its launch from a test range in the eastern state of Orissa.  

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated the country's scientists for contributing to the country's "self reliance in defense." India's Defense Research and Development Organization chief Vijay Saraswat told Indian media that the country now has missile capabilities that match with the world's elite military powers.

"The successful launch of Agni V missile is a tribute to the sophistications and commitment to national causes on the part of India's scientific technological community," said Singh. "I congratulate all the scientists and technologists who have been associated with this important project and I sincerely hope that in years to come our scientists and technologists will contribute a lot more to promoting self reliance in defense and other walks of national life."

India's AGNI V Missile

About the missile

The Agni-V has a range of 5,000 kilometers and had been described as a "quantum leap" in India's strategic capability - able to carry nuclear warheads as far as the Chinese capital as well as Shanghai.  

When asked about the launch at a press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China and India are not competitors, but partners.  He said both sides should work together to deepen strategic cooperation, promote mutual development and maintain peace and stability in the region.

Chinese warning

China's communist party newspaper, the Global Times, responded to India's test launch with a warning of its own, saying "India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China" for the foreseeable future.

India's longtime rival, Pakistan, had no official reaction to the missile launch. But Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazam Ahmad Khan said Thursday that Pakistan was informed of the missile test prior to the launch in accordance with a standing bilateral agreement.

Prior to the test launch, Indian officials cautioned the missile should not be seen as a threat. Ravi Gupta, a spokesman for India's Defense Research and Development Organization, said India has a "no first use" policy and that India's missile systems are not "country specific."

In Washington Thursday, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the United States urges all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint.

India has been testing its ballistic missile defense system since 2006. If it becomes viable, India would become one of the few nations with a working missile shield.

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by: Thach Thiet
April 19, 2012 8:53 PM

by: NAeem
April 19, 2012 8:41 PM
The addition of each bullet that is produced reduces the safety and security of world... The entire world has already been in the line of fire so efforts for peace following the precedents being set by Japan can ensure the world peace and prosperity...

by: Jonathan Huang
April 19, 2012 7:34 PM
Interesting, Most Chinese dont care about India's launch, however Indians always barking at China. Come on, we really dont care about you so stop barking. China is deploying her own GPS system and sending people to the Moon. And our GDP is three times bigger than yours. We have the fastest train system, aircraft carrier, stealth jet. You india has to buy everything. Pathetic!

by: Jale Siva Kumar
April 19, 2012 6:43 PM
This test is imperative in the wake of increasing CHINESE intimidation in the ASIA-PACIFIC. US too aware of the GROUND REALITY and I am sure, it is in the best interests of the region and to maintain the balance of power. Such deterrence is must to defend our FRONTIERS.

US alone can't do some OBJECTIVES on it's own as it wants to play a bigger and enhanced role in the ASIA-PACIFIC. So, FRIENDLY NATIONS like US, AUSTRALIA and OTHERS need not to worry about PEACEFUL TESTS of INDIA.

by: guru
April 19, 2012 5:27 PM
i dont know why these arrogant americans are soo concerned about india's internal matters(poverty and all that nonsense).they are talking as if they are the ones living in india

by: Mônica Lins
April 19, 2012 3:06 PM
In my opinion,it´s ridiculous and i agree with John Dahodi.

by: Rani
April 19, 2012 1:54 PM
India is making good use of the nuclear bomb tech the USA gave it.

by: Thomas
April 19, 2012 12:21 PM
Congratulations to India! Now what are they gonna do about feeding the1 billion poor living off $1.00 a day or the 1/2 their children suffering from malnutrition? Can't feed the poor and yet have the money for war! Too bad so sad!

by: Mohit
April 19, 2012 12:20 PM
@john dahodi: So we should suspend all science & technology activities till everyone is India is rich? Did you know that because of this Missile & Rocket program India is able to launch other countries' satellites in space? In turn India gets revenue, supporting jobs which alleviates poverty. Also India is surrounded by a hostile & dangerous neighborhood. India had been attacked & invaded in the past. Did you know that Pakistan is right next to India?

by: Kumar
April 19, 2012 12:13 PM
If your felon neighbor has a 10gauge shotgun, a bull dog wont give you much home protection.
Its a mistake to characterize India as a country of pacifists.
Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a Hindu in broad daylight 74 years ago.
His ideology is not suitable for a sovereign nation which is surrounded by unfriendly neighbors.
Most Indians today cannot relate to his peaceful submissive approach to face India's enemies simply because it doesn't make sense.
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