India has launched a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching deep into China and Europe, the media said. Reportedly, the locally developed Agni-V missile is also able to carry a nuclear warhead.
The Agni-V missile with over 5,000-km range was launched from Orissa's Wheeler Island on Thursday (Video). Reports from the spot said the launch had been successful.
"It has met all the mission objectives," S.P.Dash, director of the test range, told Reuters. "It hit the target with very good accuracy."
While India’s launch hasn’t been criticized by the international community, neighboring China noted the test with disapproval.
"The West chooses to overlook India's disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties," China's Global Times newspaper said, adding that "India should not overestimate its strength".
In 1962, China and India fought a war and are still both claiming the right over a 3,550-kilometer Himalayan border. In recent years India has fretted over China's enhanced military presence near the disputed border.
"India can now deter China, it can impose maximum possible punishment if China crosses the red line," professor in Chinese studies at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, Srikanth Kondapalli, told Reuters.
The 50-ton, 17.5-meter, Agni-V missile is expected to become fully operational by 2014-2015 after "four to five repeatable tests" and user trials.
The successful test of India’s most-ambitious strategic missile brings the country closer to joining the U.S., China, Russia, the U.K. and France in the super exclusive ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) club of those known to deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles, those that can travel more than 5,500 kilometers.