Agni-IV-missile
Agni-IV missile is displayed during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.—AFP Photo

WASHINGTON: The White House urged all nuclear states on Thursday to exercise restraint but said it would be wrong to compare India’s missile tests with those of North Korea because the former was a responsible state.

India tested the 5,000-km-range Agni-V missile on Thursday morning, joining a select group of countries — Russia, the US, Britain, China and France — that possess intercontinental ballistic missiles. The missile can reach Beijing and Shanghai in China, and all of Pakistan.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Liu Weimin, downplayed the tests, saying: “China and India are both big emerging countries, we are not rivals but cooperation partners.”

But the Chinese media pointed out that the test violated the nuclear restraint regime and pointed out that Western powers did not condemn the test.

Asked to comment on the Chinese media reports, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said: “We urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities, and continue to discourage actions that might destabilize the South Asia region.”

The White House official, however, disagreed with those who were comparing India with North Korea.“I would simply point out, because comparisons have been made to the DPRK and its actions, that India’s record stands in stark contrast to that of North Korea, which has been subject to numerous sanctions by the UN Security Council,” he said.

Carney, however, said he did not know if the Indian missile test would also come up for discussion at the forthcoming US-India strategic dialogue. “Our reaction to this missile test is what I just provided to you,” he added.

At the State Department, deputy spokesman Mark Toner also urged “all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding their nuclear and missile capabilities”.

Asked if the US would admonish India over the test, Toner noted that Israel and India had “very much engaged” in the international community on non-proliferation issues. They had attended both the nuclear security summits and “so we believe that they have a solid nonproliferation record and they’re playing a significant role internationally on the issue”.

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