- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
- Estonia pulls plug on Steven Seagal over praise for Putin
- Lawyer: Pelvic exam pics cost Hopkins $190 million
India missile test has few critics, unlike North Korea
Question of the Day
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s successful test of a powerful new missile that can carry nuclear weapons to Beijing caused barely a ripple — even in China — just days after North Korea was globally vilified for its own failed rocket launch.
“It’s not the spear, but who holds the spear that matters,” said Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst in India. “North Korea is a condemned nation. It’s a pariah country. Its record of breaking nuclear agreements is well known. India has emerged in that sense as a fairly responsible country.”
The muted response to Thursday morning’s test underscores how far India has come in gaining acceptance for its nuclear program. After India tested its first nuclear bomb in 1974, the U.S. put it under sanctions for a quarter century.
But last decade, the U.S. removed the sanctions and eventually ratified in 2008 a landmark deal to allow civilian nuclear trade that effectively accepted India as a nuclear nation.
India hailed its test of the Agni-V missile as a significant step forward in its aspirations to become a regional and world power.
“The nation stands tall today,” Defense Minister A.K. Antony said, according to the Press Trust of India.
The missile, with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), still requires a battery of tests and must clear other bureaucratic hurdles before it can be inducted into India’s arsenal in a few years.
The differences between the two launches were clear before they even got under way.
North Korea insisted its rocket launch on Sunday was merely part of its civilian space program aimed at putting an observation satellite into orbit. The U.S. and other countries called it a thin excuse to test technology for firing a long-range missile fitted with a nuclear warhead. The launch failed when the rocket broke apart soon after takeoff.
The condemnation of North Korea’s launch was swift. The United States canceled a plan to send food aid and the U.N. Security Council announced it would impose new sanctions.
India was clear from the start that it was testing a nuclear capable missile that could reach major Chinese cities.
The government hailed it as a success, releasing video showing the Agni-V taking off from a small launcher on what appeared to be railroad tracks at 8:07 a.m. from Wheeler Island off India’s east coast. It rose on a pillar of flame, trailing billows of smoke behind, before arcing through the sky.
The missile hit an altitude of more than 600 kilometers (370 miles), its three stages worked properly and its payload was deployed as planned, the head of India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, Vijay Saraswat, told Times Now news channel.
“India has emerged from this launch as a major missile power,” he said.
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.
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.
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.
Associated Press writers Matthew Pennington in Washington and Scott McDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- Rihanna, Dwight Howard delete #FreePalestine tweets
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Driver who killed teen on bike sues family for $1.3 million
- Bill Maher blames Hamas for Gaza violence: 'Do you really expect the Israelis not to retaliate?'
- HUMPHRIES: 'Hes the Worst President in 70 Years'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq