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India plans ICBM test by February

No Asian arms race, defense personnel insist
India arms raceEnlarge
An Indian Army Brahmos missiles and launcher is displayed at the Army Day parade in New Delhi on January 15, 2011. The Indian army celebrated the 63rd anniversary of the formation of its national army with soldiers from various regiments and artillery taking part in a parade. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

India plans to test its first full-fledged intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by February, bringing its nuclear strike capabilities closer to par with the China, Russia and the U.S.

According to the Times of India, India plans to test the Agni-V ICBM within the next three months, boosting its strike range to 5,500 kilometers and beyond.  The added missile would allow India to strike targets not only in Pakistan -- which is already well within reach of its arsenal -- but also as far away as northern China, the paper said.

The timing of the news is interesting.  

Both Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama will be in Bali this week for the 19th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- where both will be quietly pitching for a push back against China's budding Asia-Pacific supremacy.

The ICBM news also follows a statement from the head of India's defense research organization that the successful test of its Agni-IV missile on Tuesday (range: 3,500 km) was not meant to flag off an Asian arms race.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/india-plans-icbm-test-february