Pakistan surges ahead of India in missile technology

* Indian daily says New Delhi still conducting ‘training trials’ of Agni-I, Agni-II

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has surged ahead of India in missile technology, as Delhi only has the short-range Prithivi missile at 100 percent operational capacity. Quoting defence sources, the Times of India has said that the Indian military is still conducting “training trials” to give the 700-kilometre Agni-I and 2,000km-plus Agni-II missiles the requisite capabilities to be fired on their own. The sources said that the missiles were being ‘inducted’ into the armed forces, but would not be fully operational for some time. The Agni-III, tested successfully only twice in April 2007 and May 2008, will not be ready for induction in the armed forces before 2012. The design work on Agni-V, with a 5,000-km range, is also in progress. “We should be ready to test Agni-V by 2010-2011,” the daily quoted an official as saying. India’s missile report card is rather dismal at present, an expert said, adding the strategic missile needs to be tested 10 to 15 times, over a variety of flight envelopes and targets, before it can be said to be fully operational. A missile cannot be dubbed ready after a mere three to four tests, he added. The daily said the Indian Army has placed orders of Rs 15,000 million for 75 Prithvi-I and 62 Prithvi-II missiles, while the Indian Air Force wants 63 Prithvi-II missiles for over Rs 9,000 million. The Indian navy has ordered Dhanush missiles, the naval version of Prithvi, with a 350km strike range, for its ‘dual-tasked’ warships, INS Subhadra and INS Suvarna. app

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