India has announced it is planning to test-launch a new long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as the Chinese capital, Beijing.
Ravi Gupta, a spokesman for India’s Defense Research and Development Organization — which built the Agni-V missile — said Wednesday that it will be, in his words, a “quantum leap” in India’s strategic capability.
The Agni-V has a range of 5,000 kilometers. The launch from a test range in the eastern state of Orissa was slated for as early as Wednesday evening, but had to be postponed until Thursday due to bad weather. The test window for the launch closes Friday.
Government officials say the missile should not be seen as a threat. Gupta said India has a “no first use” policy and that all of India’s missile systems are not “country specific.”
The United States called on all nuclear powers to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington is aware of the test, adding that India has a solid non-proliferation record and is engaged with the international community on non-proliferation issues.
India has been testing its ballistic missile defense system since 2006. If it becomes viable, India would become one of the few nations with a working missile shield.