India test-fires medium-range surface-to-air missile

India test-fired a medium-range, surface-to-air missile from a mobile launcher in eastern India on Friday, in a trial a defense ministry spokesman called routine.

The multi-target missile has a range of 25 kilometers (16 miles) and has undergone several flight tests, defense ministry spokesman Samir Sinha said.

The missile, named Akash, the Hindi word for sky, is capable of carrying a payload of 50 kilograms (110 pounds).

"It was a routine launch for testing various parameters of the missile," Sinha said.

The missile was fired from a mobile launcher at a test range in Chandipur in the eastern coastal state of Orissa, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of New Delhi.

The Akash is one of five types of missiles under various stages of development by the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization.

India and Pakistan routinely test-fire missiles for military use. When they test long-range missiles, they give notice to each other.

India says it needs the missiles to defend itself against Pakistan to the west and China to the north. India has fought three wars against Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947 and one war against China in 1962 over territorial disputes.

India's missile arsenal also includes the short-range ballistic missile Prithvi, the anti-tank Nag missile, the short-range surface-to-air Trishul missile, and the supersonic Brahmos missile.


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