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India tests new missile

  |   May 11, 2003 at 11:55 AM
NEW DELHI, May 11 (UPI) -- India on Sunday test fired a locally built air-to-air missile and its prime minister said the country would continue to depend on homegrown technology for its defence in the absence of foreign know how.

The Astra missile, which has a range of 15 miles to 25 miles, was test fired for the second time in three days from the country's test range at Chandipur-at-sea, in southeastern India, the Press Trust of India reported.

The missile was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee called international technological sanctions against India, most of them imposed after the May 1998 nuclear tests, discriminatory.

"In our extended neighborhood, we can see many examples of double standards in this," he said during a speech to mark National Technology Day. "Countries guilty of missile and nuclear proliferation have not attracted sanctions."

"Some even continue to receive liberal economic assistance."

Although he did not name any country, neighboring Pakistan, which also has nuclear weapons, receives aid from the United States.

He said India would depend on homegrown technology for "major defence and dual-use items" till "a more equitable" international system comes into place.

He said India had faced sanctions since 1974, when it first conducted nuclear tests, and labelled the action "discriminatory." Washington restricts the transfer of certain dual use technology.

The comments came as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage left New Delhi after talks with top officials. On Saturday Armitage called on senior Indian leaders to discuss the recent peace overtures between India and Pakistan.

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