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India Tests Cruise Missile - 2003-02-12

India has successfully tested a short-range supersonic cruise missile developed in cooperation with Russia.

Defense officials say the Brahmos missile was fired from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal, off the eastern Orissa coast.

The eight-meter long missile has a range of about 300 kilometers, and travels at twice the speed of sound. It can be launched from ships, submarines, aircraft and land-based platforms.

The missile has been tested twice before, but this is the first time it has been fired from a ship. It is expected to give India's navy new capabilities. Defense officials say it is likely to be deployed next year.

The missile was developed by a company formed in 1998 by Indian and Russian state defense organizations. The close military cooperation between the two countries goes back nearly five decades.

India has tested two other missiles this year, including its nuclear-capable Agni missile. The tests have been criticized by several countries, which fear the series of tests could raise tensions with India's rival Pakistan.

Pakistan officials criticized Wednesday's test, calling it a sign of extremism.