By Jatindra Dash
BHUBANESWAR, India, Sept 12 (Reuters) - India successfully
test-fired for a second time a nuclear-capable missile on Sunday
that can reach Beijing and much of Europe, bringing a step
closer production of a weapon designed to strengthen its nuclear
"The test was successful," said Ravi Kumar Gupta, spokesman
for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
"It hit the target in a predefined trajectory. It met all the
A video distributed by the DRDO showed the Agni-V rocket
blasting off from a forest clearing on an island off India's
east coast state of Odisha.
India is trying to keep up with China's growing military
strength and wants to have a viable deterrent against its larger
The two countries have generally warm relations, but they
fought a brief Himalayan war in 1962 and a build up of
conventional defences along their disputed border is a source of
The Agni-V is the most advanced version of the indigenously
built Agni, or Fire, series, part of a programme that started in
the 1960s. Earlier versions could reach old rival Pakistan and
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is increasing its arsenal of nuclear
warheads and developing short-range, tactical nuclear weapons,
raising concern about an escalating South Asian arms race, the
International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Thursday.
The think-tank said in a report the race with Pakistan was
increasing the risk of a nuclear exchange during a conventional
conflict, perhaps sparked by an act of terrorism.
The Agni-V missile was first tested in April 2012. It is
mostly domestically built and has a range of about 5,000 km
(3,100 miles). Only the U.N. Security Council permanent members
- China, France, Russia the United States and Britain - along
with Israel, are believed to have such long-range weapons.
Gupta said India was now ready to start a process of
production and subsequent induction of the missile.
(Writing by Anurag Kotoky in NEW DELHI; Editing by Frank Jack
Daniel and Robert Birsel)