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India tests nuclear-ready missile

Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM   |   Comments

NEW DELHI, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- An Indian defense official confirmed the military test-fired its Agni-II medium-range missile that's capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

"The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher from the Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range at around 8:48 a.m.," a defense source was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying.

The ballistic missile has a strike range of 1,200 miles and can carry a payload of 2,200 pounds. A director at the test range said "all mission parameters" were met during the launch.

Indian Navy Adm. Nirmal Verma said this week that nuclear submarine INS Arihant is close to deployment.

"INS Arihant is steadily progressing towards becoming operational," he was quoted by the Economic Times of India as saying. "We are pretty close to putting it to sea."

U.S. defense officials have stressed the need to realign their military posture in the Asia-Pacific now that the Iraq war is over and the international mission in Afghanistan is drawing to a close.

"Given our unequivocal 'no first-use commitment,' a retaliatory strike capability that is credible and invulnerable is an imperative," the Indian navy chief added.

He added that India's primary area of strategic interest lay between the Persian Gulf and Malaysia south to the Cape of Good Hope.

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