India has successfully test-fired a long range surface-to-air missile, as part of its efforts to bolster its defence capability. The missile, developed jointly with Israel, was fired off from a mobile launcher from a defence base off the Odisha coast in the east.
A Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official told the Press Trust of India that the missile was launched at around 10.13 am local time (5.43 am BST) on Tuesday, 20 September, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. "Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile," the official added.
The successful test would be followed by more rounds of test that are expected to be conducted shortly, the news agency reported.
Several other missiles jointly developed by India and Israel were tested earlier this year. Three medium range surface-to-air missiles were test-fired successfully between 30 June and 1 July from the DRDO base at Chandipur. The Indian Navy also successfully tested the long range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) in late 2015, which was undertaken on the western seaboard by INS Kolkata.
The tested missiles would be inducted in all the three defence services – the army, navy and air force – following completion of trials, the news agency reported.
The missile tests come amid growing tensions with neighbouring Pakistan. A recent attack on an Indian army base in the Kashmir region has further fuelled animosities between the two South Asian nations. Their relations are already strained due to violence in Kashmir that erupted in July following the killing of separatist leader Burhan Wani.
While India accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorists on its soil and has even called it a "terrorist state", the latter denies the claims and blames India for the violence in Kashmir.