India on July 4 tested a short-range variant of its nuclear capable surface-to-surface Agni missile from a testing site off the country’s east coast, a defense official said.
The homegrown missile, with a strike range of 700 kilometers (about 435 miles), was tested from a mobile launcher at Wheeler Island off the coast of eastern Orissa state at 10:10 am (0440 GMT), the official said.
The missile, one of the variants of the Agni (Fire) series, can carry a one-ton payload.
Defence Ministry spokesman Amitabh Chakravarty in New Delhi described the test as “a perfect launch”.
Pakistan said it was not worried about the missile test as it was a "sovereign right" for any country to enhance its defense and military capability.
The test comes within weeks of talks between India and Pakistan on reducing the risk of nuclear confrontation.
In the June 19-20 talks in New Delhi, both sides agreed to set up a hotline to prevent nuclear confrontation, to continue a ban on nuclear tests and to conclude an agreement on informing each other in advance about impending missile tests.
It also comes just days after media reports in Pakistan quoted President Pervez Musharraf as saying that Islamabad would conduct an “important” missile test within two months.
Musharraf did not disclose details of the test but said domestic critics who believed that Pakistan had decided to roll back its nuclear and missile programs were living in a “fool’s paradise”, the Dawn newspaper said Thursday.
The president did not specify whether the test would be of a nuclear-capable missile.
“It has become a joke that people with negative minds are propagating the ill-notions of roll-back,” he was quoted as telling a group of Pakistani journalists.
Early last month, Pakistan successfully test fired a ballistic missile, Hatf V, which has a range of 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). The missile could carry nuclear warheads deep inside India.
The South Asian neighbors held nuclear tests two weeks apart in 1998 and have since come close to war twice in their dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.