India tests nuclear-capable missile

Nov. 20, 2006 at 9:29 AM
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NEW DELHI, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- India carried out a test launch of a nuclear-capable missile over the weekend, three days after Pakistan tested a similar weapon.

The Prithyi medium-range missile was fired from a fixed site at the Chandiour test site after New Delhi alerted Pakistan that it was coming.

Press Trust of India reported Monday that defense sources tipped them that additional missile tests were possible in the coming weeks.

The Prithyi is a single-stage missile that can be fired as a tactical weapon from either a launch pad or a mobile launching platform. It is capable of delivering a small nuclear warhead. However, PTI did not clarify which of the three versions of the Prithyi was launched on Sunday.

The missile has been around in one variation or another since the 1980s and it has a reputation of not being particularly accurate; PTI said that some 2,700 people living around the test site were evacuated as a precaution.

Analysts, however, conclude the missile has the range to hit much of Pakistan and consider it a potential key factor in another war between the rival neighbors.

The launch came in the wake of Pakistan's firing of a Hatf-5 missile, which is comparable in size and payload to the Indian Prithyi. India had been alerted in advance to the test as well.

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