India will test-fire a new missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads across much of Asia and the Middle East within the next few months, a news report said Wednesday quoting a top defense scientist.
A first test of the Agni III missile failed in July last year, but scientists have fixed a fault in its heat shield and it will be relaunched again "very soon," the head of India's state-run Defense Research and Development Organization, M. Natrajan, said, according to the Press Trust of India.
"We have now come up with a flexible heat shield. All other parameters of the missile would remain the same," the report cited Natrajan as saying.
Natrajan did not give an exact timeframe for the test. "It may be in May or June or even earlier," he said.
India's current crop of missiles have been largely intended to confront neighboring archrival Pakistan. The Agni III, in contrast, is India's longest-range missile, designed to reach 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) - putting China's major cities well into range, as well as targets deep in the Middle East.