India has successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable surface-to-surface BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation said the extended range missile was test-fired from a land-based launcher from an island in the eastern Indian Ocean.
BrahMos, a nuclear-capable missile, is one of the world’s fastest cruise missiles and can be fired from land, sea and air. It came under the spotlight this month after New Delhi said it “accidentally” fired a missile into Pakistan.
The cruise missile, jointly developed by India and Russia, is named after India’s river Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva River. Its variants have a range of 290 to 700 kilometres and travel almost three times the speed of sound.
The successful test launch is seen as a significant step for the Indian defence industry, which is aiming to reduce its arms imports and boost defence exports.
New Delhi signed a deal worth almost $375 million with the Philippines in January to supply BrahMos cruise missiles.
The launch was witnessed by air chief marshal VR Chaudhari and other defence officials, authorities said. They said the missile hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.
The Indian government is currently investigating the “accidental” firing of an unarmed missile into Pakistan on March 9 after Islamabad said a supersonic object launched from India violated its airspace and damaged civilian property.
India did not disclose the missile type, but said a “technical malfunction led to the accidental firing”, which did not cause any damage.
Defence experts in India and Pakistan claimed it was one of the nuclear-capable cruise missiles currently part of India’s arsenal.