India tests ICBM nukes amid South Asian arms race

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<p>A surface-to-surface Agni V missile being launched from the Wheeler Island off the Eastern State of Odisha, India</p>

The Voice Of Russia

India has successfully test-fired a second nuclear-capable missile that can reach the Chinese capital Beijing and most parts of Europe, in what is another step towards strengthening the country’s nuclear deterrent.

Ravi Kumar Gupta, spokesman for the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) confirmed on Sunday a successful launch, saying the missile hit the target “in a predefined trajectory” and met all the mission objectives.

A video distributed by the DRDO showed the Agni V rocket blasting off from a forest clearing on an island off the country’s east coast state of Odisha.

Reuters’s Jatindra Dash says India is doing its best to keep up with China’s growing military muscle. To do so, the correspondent stresses, it needs to build a viable deterrent against its larger nuclear-armed neighbor.

The two countries have generally warm relations, but they fought a brief Himalayan war in 1962 and a build-up of conventional defenses along their disputed border is deemed as a source of tension.

The Agni V is the most advanced version of the home-made Agni series, which is a part of a program that started in the 1960s.

DRDO’s Ravi Kumar Gupta said India was now ready to start a process of production and subsequent induction of the missile.

Meanwhile, nuclear-armed Pakistan is also increasing its nuclear warheads stockpile and developing short-range, tactical nuclear weapons.

This has given way to concern about an escalating South Asian arms race. The International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a Thursday report India’s race with Pakistan was increasing the risk of a nuclear exchange during a conventional conflict, perhaps sparked by an act of terrorism.