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Soldier4Christ
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« on: November 19, 2006, 05:33:34 PM »

India test-fires nuclear-capable missile 
Comes 3 days after rival Pakistan carried out similar launch of own weapon

India on Sunday successfully test-fired a medium-range nuclear-capable missile with a range of up to 300 kilometers (180 miles), a defense ministry official said.

The Prithvi missile was fired into the Bay of Bengal from the test range in Chandipur in the eastern state of Orissa, the official said on condition of anonymity as he is not allowed to reveal his identity under ministry rules.

India's Prithvi test comes three days after rival Pakistan carried out a similar test of its nuclear-capable Ghauri missile, also known as the Hatf 5.

Sunday's test was "routine" and "part of the country's air defense exercises," Press Trust of India news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying.

India routinely test-fires missiles it is developing for military use, as does Pakistan. When either country tests larger missiles they normally inform the other before the launch. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said Sunday that India had informed Pakistan ahead of time about the test. She declined to make any further comment.

On Saturday, district authorities in Chandipur evacuated around 2,750 villagers living near the missile testing range to two large shelters around two kilometers (1 mile) away, PTI said.

India's missile arsenal includes the short-range suface-to-air Akash missile, the medium-range Agni missile, the anti-tank Nag missile and the supersonic Brahmos missile.

The missile has been developed by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization.

Sunday's test also comes days after longtime nuclear rivals India and Pakistan concluded a crucial round of peace talks in New Delhi aimed at resolving their differences, including the thorny issue of their territorial dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The two countries have fought three wars - two of them over Kashmir- since independence from Britain in 1947.
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