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India has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with nuclear capability. Indian authorities say the launch sent an Agni-V, a missile with a range of approximately 3,100 miles, flying from an island off the east coast of the country mid-morning on Thursday.
In a tweet announcing the test the Indian defense minister Raksha Mantri described it as "a great boost to the defense capabilities of our country".
A "boost" may be, but it's not the first: the inaugural Agni V test occurred in 2012, and the country has tested this missile in three stages several times since then, including a launch held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2016 .
Still, the Agni-V still unofficially rotated in the missile collection at the service of the Strategic Forces Command of India, which manages the country's nuclear weapons reserves. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that India has 120 to 130 nuclear weapons in its inventory, which places it among the nine countries in the world known to possess such weapons.
The Indian station NDTV comments that when the Agni-V is fully operational, the country will join an even more "super exclusive" club of countries with ICBM or intercontinental ballistic missiles … the others are the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and France. "
That capacity is expected to send a message to neighbors in northern India, Pakistan and China, who have substantial nuclear arsenals of their own and share tensions with their southern rival.
During the last summer, India and China looked at each other over a disputed territory along its border with the Himalayas. Motivated by China's decision in June to build a highway on the Doklam plateau, a region claimed by both Beijing and Bhutan's small ally, the friction lasted months and caused both China and India to increase the presence of troops there.
Although both countries agreed to an "expeditious disconnection" of the troops in August, with the intention of reducing the stalemate, the feelings of discomfort continue to burst. In fact, according to local media reports on Thursday, India's main opposition party expressed its anger over the recent Chinese maneuvers in the region – in the words of its spokesman – which indicate "that the security and strategic interests of India they have been compromised "
. I do not wonder if this test and its chronology were a signal for China in that sense, "Vipin Narang, a nuclear proliferation specialist, told CNN on Thursday.
And more than seven decades after the partition that separated Pakistan In India, relations between them have been unfriendly, and on Thursday, The Associated Press reports that troops from the two countries once again "exchanged fire" in the disputed Kashmir region.
Pakistan, meanwhile, continues advancing its own missile program As reported by NBC News, just over a year ago Pakistan tested its first submarine-launched cruise missile: a weapon "named after a sixteenth-century Islamic Muslim warrior who invaded and conquered India" .