NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi said India today fired a surface-to-surface missile developed in his country, making it the fifth nation in the world to produce such a weapon.
Gandhi told a cheering Parliament the Prithvi-class missile launched from Sriharikota Space Center in Andhra Pradesh state, 1,020 miles south of New Delhi flawlessly completed a 150-mile flight and plunged into the Bay of Bengal.
India is in the midst of its largest ever military buildup to meet a perceived threat from neighbors Pakistan and China.
India detonated a nuclear device in 1974, but denies it possesses any nuclear weapons. Defense experts said the missile could be used as a nuclear delivery system, but believe it would be used in conventional roles, such as attacking strategic installations behind enemy lines.