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India tests nuclear-capable missile from mobile launcher

India has carried out the first launch of its Agni-V long-range missile from a mobile mount. The weapon, which can carry nuclear warheads, is capable of reaching China and even Europe.

Saturday's test-launch of the Agni-V ballistic missile was the first time that the weapon has been fired from a truck mount - called a "canister" - rather than a concrete launchpad, a spokesman for India's Defense Research and Development Organization said.

The mobile launchpad will facilitate flexible deployment of the missile, which has a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) - making it capable of reaching the Chinese mainland, or nearly all of western Europe.

"Successful test-firing of Agni-V from a canister makes the missile a prized asset for our forces," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

The 17-meter (18.6-yard) weapon, which weighs 50 tons, was launched from the test range on Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa.

It is the third time that the Agni-V missile, named after the Sanskrit word for "fire," has been tested, having received its initial launch in April 2012 (pictured above).

Deterring 'evil eyes'

The test comes as India, the largest importer of arms in the world, is involved in a defense upgrade to the tune of $100 billion (88.6 billion euros).

Modi has said he wants to increase India's military power to the extent that no other country "dare cast an evil eye" on it.

His right-wing government has pushed on with long-delayed projects worth over $60 billion since taking power in elections in May.

tj/bk (AFP, dpa)

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