April 19, 2012
NEW DELHI - India announced Thursday that it had successfully test launched a new nuclear-capable missile that would give it, for the first time, the capability of striking the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The government has hailed the Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles), as a major boost to its efforts to counter China's regional dominance and become an Asian power in its own right.
The head of India's Defence Research and Development Organization, Vijay Saraswat, said the missile was launched at 8:07 a.m. from Wheeler Island off India's east coast.
It rose to an altitude of more than 600 kilometres (370 miles), its three stages worked properly and its payload was deployed as planned, he told Times Now news channel.
"India has emerged from this launch as a major missile power," he said.
The window for the launch opened Wednesday night, but the test had to be postponed because of weather conditions.
Avinash Chandra, mission director for the test, said that when the launch took place Thursday morning the missile performed as planned.
"We have achieved exactly what we wanted to achieve in this mission," he told Times Now.