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Last Updated: Monday, 10 July 2006, 07:45 GMT 08:45 UK
Indian missile test 'was failure'
Agni II missile on parade in Delhi
India's Agni missiles increase military reach
India's test of its longest-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Sunday was a failure, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee says.

The Agni-III surface-to-surface missile was test-fired off the coast of Orissa state but crashed into the Bay of Bengal without reaching its target.

Reports say it could hit targets as far off as Beijing and Shanghai.

Last week, North Korea sparked an outcry by test firing missiles without warning into the sea of Japan.

Mr Mukherjee told journalists late on Sunday that the missile had developed a snag during the flight.

"The take-off was successful but there were some problems later," he was quoted as saying by The Times of India newspaper.

"It will take some time to analyse the data about the flight performance," Mr Mukherjee, who witnessed the launch, said.

The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal in Delhi says India has twice postponed the Agni-III tests - once for technical reasons, the second time because of fears of a negative international response at a time when the country was tying up important nuclear energy deals.

Pakistan 'informed'

The Agni-III is India's most sophisticated long-range missile and is designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

Analysts say it has a range of more than 3,000km (1,865 miles).

Pakistan said it had been informed in advance of the test.

"It is a ballistic missile test and we have agreement on pre-notification of ballistic missile tests," said Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam in Islamabad. "We have no other reaction."

India has been engaged in peace moves with Pakistan since 2004 and relations with China have warmed significantly in recent years.

Analysts say if successful, the Agni-III dramatically increases the range of targets which India could hit.

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