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posted 19-1-2003 11:01    
India Tests Short-Range Missile - Report
Sat Jan 18, 9:50 AM ET


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India test fired a short-range, surface-to-air missile on Saturday which can hit targets up to 15 miles away, the Press Trust of India (news - web sites) reported.

The test of the Akash missile came a week after a test of the nuclear-capable Agni 1 missile, which can strike almost any part of Pakistan, India's nuclear armed neighbor.


Saturday's test was conducted from a mobile launchpad at Balasore on India's eastern seaboard, PTI said quoting defense sources in Balasore.


Pakistan said the test reflected poorly on New Delhi.


"This is the second such test inside 10 days, which points again to India's desire to whip up war hysteria," Information Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad told a news conference in Islamabad.


"We want the world to know that, when today there are hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating all over the world against war and in favor of peace, India's decision to test this missile reflects poorly."


Akash, which means sky in the Hindi language, can carry a payload of 55 kg and has been undergoing user trials. No date has been set for it to be put into production.


An Indian defense official had told Reuters earlier this month that scientists were planning a range of missile tests.


These included the Agni 1, which has a range of 370 to 500 miles; Brahmos, a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed with Russia with a range of 175 miles; and a 150-mile range variant of its surface-to-surface missile, Prithvi. (with additional reporting by Adnan Sipra in Islamabad)

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