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India Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile    10/28 06:06


   NEW DELHI (AP) -- India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental 
ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from an island 
off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.

   The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with "India's policy to have 
credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use," 
said a government statement.

   The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with "a very high 
degree of accuracy," said the statement issued on Wednesday night.

   Beijing's powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its 
weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-5 believed to be able to strike 
nearly all of China.

   India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, its 
archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from 
British colonialists in 1947.

   India has been developing its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile 
systems since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a 
major boost to the country's defense capabilities.

   Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their 
border in the mountainous Ladakh area. India is also increasingly suspicious of 
Beijing's efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.

   Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from 
key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing 
to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes. India and 
China fought a bloody war in 1962.

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