China today announced that it has successfully carried out a mid-course ground-based missile interception test within its own territory, on a day when India test fired its short-range nuclear-capable Agni-1 missile.
China today announced that it has successfully carried out a mid-course ground-based missile interception test within its own territory, on a day when India test fired its short-range nuclear-capable Agni-1 missile. The test of interception technology was conducted yesterday within China’s territory and achieved “preset goal”, the Ministry of National Defence said. The test is defencive and does not target any country, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. A ground-based interceptor missile was used to knock out a ballistic missile during the “mid-course” of its flight outside the earth’s atmosphere, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. The test was in a location in China, but no other details were given. The test comes amid months of international tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles programme and Beijing’s firm opposition to the deployment of US interceptor missiles, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) in South Korea to ward off ward off any missile attacks from North Korea.
Russia too opposed the deployment of THAAD Missiles. China apprehends that the powerful radars of the THAAD missiles can monitor the movement of its missiles in the country. Beijing has also rapidly expanded its military presence on man-made islands in the South China Sea, which it claims in its entirety, despite countering claims from other nations. It has also repeatedly sent coast guard vessels into waters controlled by Japan around uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that China claims as its own.
China first tested a ground-based mid-course missile interception in 2010. A second test was conducted in 2013. China says such technology is needed for its own national defence and security.
Interestingly, the announcement by China comes on a day when India successfully test-fired its short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-1 with a strike range of over 700 km from a test range off the Odisha coast. Weighing around 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-1 can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg and is capable of hitting a target beyond 700 km.