India has successfully test fired a new nuclear-capable missile known as the ‘China Killer’, prompting fears of regional instability as more countries join in the arms race.
India and China have become more militarised in recent years, spending more and more on defence, as their economies have boomed.
India’s Agni V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has a range of more than 3,000 miles and is capable of hitting targets like the Chinese capital Beijing with a nuclear warhead – Europe is also in reach.
The successful test means the emerging Asian superpower is now a member of an elite club of countries with long-range ICBMs at their disposal.
The missile was launched from a tiny island off India’s east coast.
The director of the test range, S P Dash, told the Reuters news agency the launch had “met all the mission objectives.”
“It hit the target with very good accuracy,” he added.
The capability gives India extra power on the global stage – is is demanding it is given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Western nations have not criticised the launch – unlike North Korea’s doomed test earlier in the week – but it has angered the Chinese, sparking fears of increased tensions between the two countries.
An editorial in China’s Global Times newspaper stated menacingly that “India should not overestimate its strength”.
India lost a short war against China in the Himalayas in 1962 and both countries continue to regard each other with suspicion.
Nato, however, has issued a statement saying it does not view the test as a threat.