December 18, 2008 / 3:35 PM / 11 years ago

India successfully tests supersonic cruise missile

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India successfully tested a supersonic cruise missile from a moving ship for the first time on Thursday, in what officials said was a major boost for the South Asian nation’s defence capabilities.

The launch comes at a time of heightened tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since independence in 1947, over last month’s Mumbai attacks.

Indian defence officials said the launch had been planned well before the Mumbai attacks, which India blames on Islamist militants operating in Pakistan.

The Brahmos missile, named after India’s Brahmaputra river and Russia’s Moscow river, can travel at up to 2.8 times the speed of sound and has a range of 290 km (180 miles), according to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“The launch from a moving frontline naval platform in the Bay of Bengal was very successful and we are thrilled as this is very significant,” DRDO official Suranjan Pal told Reuters, adding that the launch took months of planning.

India, which has the world’s fourth-largest military, plans to fit the missile in several ships, the DRDO said in a statement.

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