Unapologetic India test-fires Agni, Pak denounces intent

New Delhi, January 25: | Updated: Jan 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
India test-fired a short range variant of the Agni missile system on Friday morning. Government stood firm that its action wasn’t just within the ambit of legitimacy, but was also not directed at any particular country. “We have been trying various configurations, as per our intent to create a credible nuclear deterrence, and the present tests are part of a well thought out, legitimate process,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Nirupama Rao said.

“Heads of missions of all permanent members of the UN security council have been informed, as also the deputy high commissioner of Pakistan,” Mrs Rao added, arguing that “the tests are not country-specific”. Pakistan, however, spent the entire day trying to negate that impression. It argued that India’s actions were a threat to regional stability.

More so, coming as they did at a time when tensions between the two countries were a concern to the entire international community. Driving the Pak foreign office’s grouse was that the Agni test-fired this time was of medium range. This, the country’s spokespersons argued, made Pakistan the ‘Target No 1’ for these missiles, and not China, as was the case with earlier variants.

Speaking to The Financial Express former head of India’s missile programme APJ Abdul Kalam said he was really happy with what his successor VK Aatre and his team had achieved.