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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 14:01 GMT
India tests cruise missile
Brahmos missile
The Brahmos is a joint production with Russia
India has successfully conducted the first naval launch of its short-range Brahmos cruise missile.

The supersonic missile, with a range of 280 kilometres (174 miles), was fired from a ship in the Bay of Bengal off the eastern state of Orissa.

India's Brahmos
An acronym of the Brahmaputra river and Moscow
Can fly up to 14 km high or skim the surface
Can change course to strike anywhere within 20 km of its original target
Carries a 200-300 kg payload
Primarily an anti-ship missile, Brahmos can engage shore-based targets
Expected to be deployed in 2004
It was the latest in a series of tests of Indian missiles that have drawn international criticism.

It also comes at a time of heightened tension, with both India and Pakistan recently expelling senior diplomats in a row over the funding of Kashmiri separatists.

Pakistan immediately condemned the test.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kamran Niaz said: "We know that India has a policy of massive militarisation. They are developing missiles of all sorts."

Showcased

Wednesday's test-firing took place from the Indian destroyer Rajput.

"The missile followed the predicted trajectory and accurately hit the target," Defence Minister George Fernandes was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

The cruise missile has been joint produced with Russia and can be fired from a variety of platforms including mobile launchers, submarines, ships and aircraft.

Agni missile
The Agni tests angered the US

It is based on the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile and can reach several cities in Pakistan.

The missile was recently showcased at India's Republic Day celebrations in January.

Last month, India test-fired a shorter range version of its nuclear-capable Agni 1 ballistic missile and the short-range surface-to-air Akash.

The United States criticised the Agni launch, saying it would contribute to the charged atmosphere in the region, making it harder to prevent a destabilising arms race.

India's series of missile tests came after it almost went to war with nuclear rival Pakistan last year over the disputed region of Kashmir.

Two previous tests of the Brahmos have been carried out - in June 2001 and April 2002.

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See also:

08 Feb 03 | South Asia
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