by Staff Writers
Bhubaneswar, India (AFP) March 27, 2010
India successfully tested two short-range nuclear-capable missiles from two sites off its eastern coast on Saturday, a defence ministry official said.
India, which tested nuclear weapons in 1998, has developed a series of nuclear and conventional missile systems as part of a programme begun in 1983.
Saturday's first test was the launch of the Dhanush, which has a range of 350 kilometres (220 miles) and was fired from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off the shores of the state of Orissa.
The second missile was the Prithvi (Earth)-II, launched from Chandipur-on-Sea Integrated Test Range, 200 kilometres northeast of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa.
"The tests were successful and met all the mission objectives," S.P.Dash, director of the Integrated Test Range, told AFP.
The Dhanush, which means bow in Hindi, is a variant of the ground-to-ground Prithvi missile, developed for the Indian navy.
Both variants can carry nuclear and conventional warheads and have been developed at home.
The 8.5-metre (28-foot) Prithvi-II missile has a range of 150-350 kilometres and can carry a one-tonne payload.
Last month, India announced it would test a nuclear-capable missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometres within a year.
India has developed an array of weapons systems for reaching potential targets in neighbouring Pakistan and China.
India's current longest-range nuclear-capable missile, Agni-III, can travel a maximum of 3,500 kilometres.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan, with which India has fought three wars since their partition and independence six decades ago, has said India's missile development programme could trigger a new arms race in the region.
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