India test-fires nuclear-capable ballistic Agni-II missile

  • The medium-range ballistic missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 2,000 kilometers

NEW DELHI – India says it has successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

According to media reports, the nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-II was fired from a mobile launcher from Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast on Tuesday morning.

The test was carried out by the Indian Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistic support provided by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

Local media reports said that the entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal.

The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tons and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 km.

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The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services. The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities.

In January, India said it had successfully test-fired its longest-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile. The home-grown missile had a strike range of 5,000 kilometers.

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The latest missile tests are expected to fuel already heightened tensions between neighbors Pakistan and India.

Pakistan and India have routinely tested ballistic missiles since they first became nuclear capable respectively in 1998 and 1974.

Neither of the neighbors has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or other international regulatory pacts that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.

India considers the NPT as discriminatory, while Pakistan has indicated that it will not join the international treaty until its neighbor does.