India test-fired a nuclear-capable missile.
NEW DELHI (AP) – India has tested a nuclear-capable intercontinental missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast amid rising borderline tensions with China.
Wednesday’s successful launch was in line with India’s policy of having a credible minimum deterrent that underpins its commitment not to use the first use,” a government statement said.
The Agni 5 rocket hit the Gulf of Bengal with “very high precision,” said Wednesday night’s statement.
Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has led New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, and Agni-5 is likely to attack almost all of China.
India is already in a position to attack anywhere in neighboring Pakistan, its archrival, against whom it has waged three wars since the independence of the British colonialists in 1947.
India has been developing its nuclear and missile systems in the medium and long term since the 1990s amid growing strategic competition with China to significantly increase the country’s defense capabilities.
Tensions between them increased last year during a long disputed stretch of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area. India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean.
Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to free troops from key areas along their border ended earlier this month in a stalemate that did not ease a 17-month stalemate that sometimes led to fatal crashes. India and China waged a bloody war in 1962.