India says it has carried out its first successful test interception of a ballistic missile, using a second missile to shoot down an incoming rocket, the defense ministry said.
If the interceptor missile, the medium-range and nuclear-capable Prithvi II, can be transformed into a viable defense system, it would push India into an elite club of nations with working missile shields.
Such a system would vastly boost India's defensive capabilities, especially against neighboring Pakistan. The longtime rivals are both nuclear-armed.
According to the ministry, the first missile, a modified Prithvi II simulating the "adversary's missile," was launched from the Chandipore test range about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Bhubaneswar, capital of India's Orissa state.
The interceptor, also a Prithvi, was fired one minute later from the Wheeler's Island missile testing center. The island is in the Bay of Bengal, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Bhubaneswar.