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Woman to head India's missile project

NEW DELHI, May 13 (UPI) -- India's top defense research group Tuesday selected a woman for the first time to be project director of its classified nuclear missile project.

Tessy Thomas, a 45-year-old expert on all solid system propellant, will direct the upgraded version of the 1,243-mile-range, nuclear-capable Agni-II missile for India's Defense Research and Development Organization, the Press Trust of India reported.

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Women already hold senior ranks in all branches of India's military services.

Thomas is one of about 200 women scientists and technicians working for the DRDO.

She was the associate director of the 1,864-mile-range Agni-III missile, which was tested earlier this month.

India is building its intermediate-range ballistic missile because of rising concerns about the China's nuclear submarine base. Agni-III's range would include major Chinese cities.

Thomas declined to discuss the new version of Agni-II being planned because of its classified nature, the report said.

"It will be called Agni-II A (2)," she was quoted as saying, adding, "I like my job. I feel I am contributing to my nation's security."

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