BHUBANESWAR: India successfully tested on Friday an interceptor defence shield developed to detect and destroy incoming ballistic missiles, a government official said.
Officials from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said an indigenously developed interceptor missile locked on to the targets, two nuclear-capable missiles, and destroyed them in a test in eastern India.
DRDO spokesman Ravi Gupta said radars following the two destroyed missiles detected fragments falling into the Bay of Bengal off the state of Orissa.
“India is the fifth nation to have these ballistic missile defence capabilities in the world,” Gupta said in a statement. The test was carried out at a missile launch site located 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Orissa state capital of Bhubaneswar.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan, with which India has fought three wars since their independence in 1947, has said New Delhi's missile programme could trigger a new arms race in the region.
A similar test in 2010 by the DRDO was abandoned when radars following a “hostile” missile lost track of it after it blasted off from the launch site.
The system's tracking and fire-control radars were developed by the DRDO jointly with Israel and France. India last month said it would soon test a nuclear-capable missile with a range of over 5,000 kilometres.
India's current longest-range nuclear-capable missile, Agni-IV, can travel 3,500 kilometres.