Pratap Mohanty reports for AFP from Bhubaneswar, India:
India announced Thursday a successful test-firing of a nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile than can reach the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai. The Agni-III missile was launched from Wheeler Island, 180 kilometres (110 miles) northeast of Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Orissa.
“The 16-metre-long (52-feet) missile weighing 48 tonnes lifted off successfully from its rail mobile launcher system leaving a trail of orange and yellow smoke,” India’s Defence Ministry said in a statement from New Delhi.
“The entire flight path of approximately 15 minutes duration validated all mission objectives,” the statement said, adding the test “confirmed India’s strategic capability for minimum credible deterrence.”
The ministry gave the range of the missile tested Thursday as more than 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles) and said it was capable of carrying a nuclear or conventional payload of 1.5 tonnes.
China reacted swiftly saying it hoped that India, “as a country with an important influence in this region, can work to maintain and promote peace and stability in the region.