India's test launch of a missile capable of striking major Chinese cities went smoothly this morning, and Indian officials say the country has now emerged as a major missile power. The nuclear-capable Agni-V missile, with a 3,100-mile range, will be added to India's arsenal after more tests over the next couple of years, providing the country with what one official calls "much-needed dissuasive deterrence against China," the BBC reports. "The nation stands tall today," declared India's defense minister.
The Agni-V puts cities like Beijing and Shanghai in range of Indian nukes, but China is far ahead in the missile race, and does not consider India a threat, AP notes. There was no official Chinese response to the test launch, but the tone of coverage on state-owned China Central Television was more patronizing than belligerent. The test is "a historic moment for India and it shows that India has joined the club of the countries that own ballistic missiles," the broadcaster said before listing numerous shortcomings with the Agni-V, and concluding that "it does not pose a threat in reality." (Read more India stories.)