India successfully test-fired a long-range nuclear-capable missile on Thursday from an island in the Bay of Bengal.
The test, the fifth of the Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile, was made from a mobile launcher, and “further strengthens our credible deterrence,” the defence Ministry said in a statement.
India has been developing its nuclear and missile systems in recent years amid increasing strategic competition with China. The test was “a major boost to country’s defence capabilities,” the ministry said.
Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-V believed to be able to strike nearly all of China.
Tension flared last year between the two neighbours over a long-disputed section of their border high in the Himalayas. India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.
India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighbouring Pakistan, its arch-rival.
The news comes one day after India announced that it was spending US$553 million (HK$4.3 billion) on new weapons for its border guards, including those on the borders of Tibet. – AP
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