India missile test has few critics, unlike North Korea

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India had joined the small club of nations able to develop and build long-range ballistic missiles, he said.

Yet officials said the new missile test should not be seen as a threat because India has a no-first-use policy and its missiles were used only for deterrence.

International concerns were muted.

China, with the most at stake from the launch, declined to discuss it. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said only that India and China should work together as strategic partners and “grasp opportunities to further develop relations.”

Even archrival Pakistan, already in range of India’s less advanced missiles, showed no concern, with foreign office spokesman Mozzam Ahmed Khan saying only that India had informed it of the test ahead of time in line with an agreement they have.

Before the launch, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in Washington that the United States urges all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear capabilities.

“That said, India has a solid nonproliferation record,” he told a news briefing. “They’re engaged with the international community on nonproliferation issues.”

That, analysts say, is the major difference.

North Korea has been banned by the U.N. from testing missiles and has been accused of selling missile and nuclear technology to other states.

India never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so is not in violation of it, Bedi said. The U.S. deal that accepted it as a nuclear power has been buttressed by its record of not giving weapons to other states.

“There’s a certain amount of acceptability of India,” he said. “In that sense, I think India has crossed a certain milestone.”

C. Uday Bhaskar, the former head of the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, said there is no need for global concern over India’s rising power.

India is a force that contributes to global stability, so enhancing India’s profile is good for the world,” he said. “I don’t think you could say the same for North Korea.”

China remains far ahead of India in the missile race, with intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching anywhere in India. Currently, the longest-range Indian missile, the Agni-III, has a range of 3,500 kilometers (2,100 miles) and falls short of many major Chinese cities.

Though there was no official Chinese reaction to the test, the Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, warned India not to get arrogant and overestimate its strength.

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