India successfully tests nuclear-capable missile

Marks fourth test of Agni III missile, which can hit targets across much of Asia and the Middle East.

Agni III missile  (photo credit: Associated Press)
Agni III missile
(photo credit: Associated Press)

Indiaagain successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable missile Sunday thatcan hit targets across much of Asia and the Middle East, a Defenseministry press release said.

It was the fourthtest of the Agni III missile, the statement added. The first attemptin 2006 failed, but the last two tests were successful.

"The AgniIII missile tested for the full range, hit the target with pinpointaccuracy and met all the mission objectives," the press releaseadded.

India'scurrent arsenal of missiles is largely intended for confrontingarchrival Pakistan. The Agni III, in contrast, is India'slongest-range missile, designed to reach 3,000 kilometers (1,900miles) — putting China's major cities well into range, as well asMiddle Eastern targets.

India'shomegrown missile arsenal already includes the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile, the medium-range Akash, the anti-tank Nag and thesupersonic Brahmos missile, developed jointly with Russia.

The missile waslaunched from Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa onSunday morning.

The test appearedunlikely to significantly raise tensions in the region.

Nuclear-armedneighbors India and Pakistan usuallynotify each other ahead of such missile launches, in keeping with anagreement between the two nations. Indiaand Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independencefrom Britain in 1947.

The two sidesbegan talks aimed at resolving their differences over the Himalayanregion of Kashmir and other disputes in 2004. Indiaput the peace process on hold soon after terrorist attacks in Mumbaiin November 2008, which India blamed onthe Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Indiarecently offered to restart peace talks, though Pakistan has yet toformally accept.