India succeeds in testing quick-reaction missile

NEW DELHI (AP) ? India successfully tested a new quick-reaction tactical missile Thursday and will use it in battlefield support for the army, the Defense Ministry said.

The surface-to-surface “Prahaar” missile ? which means “attack” in Hindi ? can carry a variety of warheads weighing up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) and hit targets 93 miles (150 kilometers) away.

India’s missiles are mostly intended for any confrontation with neighboring Pakistan, but both countries routinely test theirs, so India’s latest was unlikely to aggravate tensions.

The Defense Ministry said the missile was tested successfully off the coast of India’s eastern Orissa state. Within 205 seconds the missile “achieved terminal accuracy of less than 10 meters,” or 33 feet.

Equipped with high-tech navigation and guidance equipment, the missile is meant to provide the Indian Army with a “cost-effective, quick-reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, high-accurate battlefield support tactical system,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Defense and Research and Development Organization developed the missile in less than two years to fill the gap between multibarrel rockets and medium-range ballistic missiles, which can fly distances of up to 220 miles (350 kilometers).

India has been developing other missiles to strengthen its defense capability, including the medium-range Agni and Akash missiles, the anti-tank Nag, the ship-launched Dhanush missile and the supersonic Brahmos missile, designed jointly with Russia.

In June, a global think tank said India and Pakistan were continuing to develop new ballistic and cruise missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said the South Asian neighbors have added 20-30 nuclear warheads apiece to their arsenals in the past year.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, including two over control of the Himalayan region of Kashmir.