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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
India tests cruise missile
Indian soldiers
The test comes amid a tense military standoff with Pakistan
The Indian authorities say they have successfully tested a supersonic cruise missile developed jointly with Russia.

According to the reports we have received, today's test was a success

A defence ministry spokesman

A defence ministry spokesman in Delhi said the test took place near Balasore, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.

He said the missile, known as Brahmos, had a range of 300 kilometres and could carry a 200 kilogram conventional warhead.

Brahmos can be launched from ships, submarines or aircraft, and can travel at twice the speed of sound.

The announcement comes during a tense military standoff between India and Pakistan, with nearly a million troops mobilised on either side of their joint border.

Close ties

The missile was first tested last year.

It is fuelld with a solid propellant and has a pre-set trajectory.

Short-range Prithvi missile
India is vigorously pursuing its missile programme

But a sensor on its head detects the target and can change course to strike 20 km from the targeted range.

The missile was developed by a joint venture company formed in 1998 by Indian and Russian state defence organisations.

The two countries have enjoyed close defence ties stemming from the cold war period.

Nearly 70% of India's defence hardware is of Soviet origin and in recent years Delhi has ordered fighter planes, tanks and submarines from Russia.

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Business
India signs 'historic' US arms deal
20 Feb 02 | Business
India woos weapon makers
07 Feb 02 | South Asia
Analysis: India and Russia's close ties
26 Jan 02 | South Asia
Powell laments India missile test
25 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan warns India over missile test
25 Jan 02 | South Asia
Analysis: India's missile fears
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