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India Test Fires Long-Range, Nuke-Capable Missile 336

An anonymous reader writes "India has successfully test fired a long-range, nuke-capable missile. Named after Hindu God of fire 'Agni', the ICBM is capable of hitting targets in China, East Africa and parts of Europe. With a successful launch of the missile, India joins an elite group of nations with long-range weapons. 'The BBC's Andrew North in Delhi says Indian officials deny it, but everyone believes the missile is mainly aimed at deterring China. A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Liu Weimin, said his country was not threatened by the test. ... It was only launched once officials were sure they had the best weather conditions — so this was as much a demonstration as a real test, to show India's rivals that it has this kind of capability.'"
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India Test Fires Long-Range, Nuke-Capable Missile

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  • by shemyazaz ( 1494359 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @09:38AM (#39745063)
    Its a wonderful day in the neighborhood....
  • Wait, hang on (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @09:38AM (#39745067)
    Let's just get this straight.

    So North Korea, a despot nation with no natural resources and maybe, perhaps, who the hell actually knows, may just have a nuclear weapon but we're not totally sure if they actually work, fire a "missile" and everyone is pissed.

    India, a populous and relatively rich nation with a known nuclear capability, which has been to war with it's neighbour who also has a known nuclear capability, fires it's missile and we don't bat an eyelid?

    What the fuck?
    • Re:Wait, hang on (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @09:41AM (#39745107)

      North Korea has been run by a familial succession of dictators who have been, at best, more than a little deranged. India is the closest thing that region has to a western democracy.

      • Re:Wait, hang on (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MayorOfTuesday ( 1911042 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @09:44AM (#39745125)
        Exactly. I think it's ok for other people to carry guns. I don't think it's ok for batshit crazy people to carry guns.
        • by hherb ( 229558 )

          Absolutely. Which is why I don't want the US to have nuclear capabilities either. To most of the rest of the world, the US of the last decade is simply batshit crazy

      • Which means they're the most likely target, and very likely to use their offensive capabilities in retaliation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

        India is the closest thing that region has to a western democracy.

        It of course depends a bit on how you define the region, but Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, and more recently Cambodia are all democracies largely modelled after the British government. Pakistan is at least in theory a democracy as well, although political violence is relatively common.

      • I get the feeling that the current Kim is actually a level-headed guy playing the part of a crazy dictator (while trying to improve things as much as he can without idling and dismantling NK's military) to prevent a military coup.

        • Or that's just what he /wants/ you to think. Crazy like a crazy fox, they are.

        • Re:Wait, hang on (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:31AM (#39745627)

          I don't think that anyone outside NK knows Dear Successor well enough to understand his state of mind. He's probably not batshit insane, and I don't think his father was either. However, he is a guy who probably enjoys the trappings of power, and also realizes that he has to keep the military and powerbrokers under him on his side. Although he may want a better future for his country, he may realize that it could be very, very difficult to realize that future with himself in power... or even alive at the end of the process.

          His best option is a sort of China-like situation where he ditches the Juche crap and starts trying to act like a dictatorial South Korea. Let's not forget, South Korea was not always a model democracy itself. NK can probably succeed by conferring with Bejing on how they can open their markets in certain ways, make nice with the West, while at the same time, not changing the political system very much at all.

          • Re:Wait, hang on (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:46AM (#39745753)

            South Korea is not a model democracy today. It's a fascist (or corporatist if you want to white wash it through name change) state where large corporations like Samsung and Daewoo essentially own the government regardless of who is actually voted in and get to decide on essentially all relevant policy.

            It is also very financially successful state, due to smart moves by said corporations in essentially "dronifying" the population to the point where wealthiest families move out of the country to avoid that happening to their children.

        • I expect the current Kim is walking a tightrope, and at least until he's a bit older, will basically be doing what he's told.

    • Unlike many other countries, like North Korea, the muslim countries, and even the US, I think the Indians can be trusted with nuclear weapons, and there's no reason not to believe that they won't break their 'no first use' doctrine.

      Remember the muslim dictator of Pakistan, who said that he'd have a nuclear weapon (to threaten the neighbours with) even if the people had to eat grass?

    • by Bigby ( 659157 )

      You only oppose something like this when they didn't already have it. India can already blow up the world, so why contest it? The goal is to have as few countries as possible with the capability of blowing up the world. If Switzerland didn't have a nuclear weapon (i am assuming they do, but if they don't, even better) and they tried to get one, other countries would try to stop it. Once you are there, you are in "in the club". Hence the desire behind North Korea and other countries. You aren't respect

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The range on the new missile (the Agni-V) is 5,000 km. For an ICBM, that is short. It didn't have to be that short. They could, fairly easily, have given it a few thousand more kilometers. The Indians chose not to. The reasons for the short range are political, not technical. 5000 km gives them range on Beijing but conveniently leaves Tokyo and all of Western Europe out of range, to say nothing of the United States.

      The North Korean new 'satellite' launching rocket, if it worked, could easily drop some

    • North Korea has run around threatening its neighbors, sinking their ships randomly then threatening war if you try to blame them for sinking the ship, has a large army ready to invade South Korea at a moment's notice, kidnaps civilians from Japan and South Korea using midget submarines so they can be the dictator's playthings, starves their citizenry to retain dictatorial control, but other than that, they're exactly the same as India.

    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      The fact that India is a democracy is actually morally important.
      The fact that they are currently not at war (technically NK is at war with SK and has hundreds of artillery pieces pointed to Seoul) is also important.
      The fact that it never signed a treaty saying it would refrain from such tests is also important.
      A fuck was given when India first developped these capabilities. It was a nuclear nation a long time ago and now its missiles range went from 2500 to 3500. It is not that much a big deal.
    • Keep in mind that the Agni isn't exactly new... it's been around since the 1980's. Also, India has had theatre level ability to deliver nuclear weapons since the 1970's.

      So, seniority, not batshit crazy, generally stable, generally well behaved, all these things play a part.

  • Some time like 1974 or 1975, China did similar tests. So the gap is, hmmm, let's say 35 years.
  • Not competitors? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Infiniti2000 ( 1720222 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @09:45AM (#39745141)

    From TFA, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Liu Weimin, said "China and India are large developing nations. We are not competitors but partners."

    I say bullshit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by benjfowler ( 239527 )

      China plays the bullshit 'we are a developing country' lie card all the time. It's a pile of crap, as they already pretty much bully and control the world like the Americans. The only thing they lack now is a blue water Navy -- when that happens -- and as another poster recently said -- all us non-Han will be niggers.

  • It's a huge poverty stricken country. It can't even provide food and clean water adequately (and don't get me started on the filth of their healthcare system). Yet they have enough funds to pay for this stuff. Great work and good priorities India!

    • by daem0n1x ( 748565 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:08AM (#39745403)
      Excuse me, I didn't get it. Are you talking about India or the USA?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:13AM (#39745445)

      India is a country surrounded by Pakistan, China, and nearby N. Korea, and other countries who are horribly oppressive, violent and aggressive regimes. They are also currently harboring the Tibetan government in exile; which royally pisses China off.

      Time will tell if this was a good idea but from a strategic point of view, I have to agree with their decision.

      And don't forget - public protests can be the polar opposite of what's said behind closed doors. Especially, when you need to keep amicable relations with all sides.

      • by o'reor ( 581921 )
        North Korea is as "nearby" India as New York is "nearby" Los Angeles. But granted, India's closest neighbours aren't the friendliest guys around.
      • Just out of curiosity - are you willing to extend the same grace to Iran? Their neighbours are just as "nasty", arguably more so, and they face a very real threat from countries like Israel and the US. Are they allowed to acquire a nuclear capability because they're surrounded by assholes too or is it only the people we like who get to do that?
    • Hmm, the same can be said about parts of China and the USA too...
    • Absolutely good work on their priorities.

      Let India get technology for balistic flights, nuclear weapons, and (hopefully) set up a permanent colony on the moon.

      Knowledge should be shared, and India is a relatively stable democracy. Why not them?

      (If they spent all their money feeding the poor, they wouldn't have a major worldwide tech center in Bangalore.)

    • by mrops ( 927562 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:35AM (#39745661)

      I have read this bullshit before. India had a GDP of 1.73 trillion dollars last year, of this it spend 36 billion on R&D including this one. So you are saying its wrong to spend less than 2 cents of every dollar you make on protecting yourself. Not only that, this tech also is related to satellite launch market, which is quite lucrative. India also launches and makes money on that.

      So don't buy your LED TV, smartphone, Laptop until you pay off your mortgage, that is wrong priorities by your logic. Furthermore, dare you get a gun or a security system in your house until your mortgage and debt are paid off.

      What rubbish!

    • by cplusplus ( 782679 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:47AM (#39745765) Journal
      They can thank about a hundred years of British rule for driving them in to poverty. India was among the wealthiest countries on earth until the British showed up and proceeded to siphon trillions of dollars (in today's terms) of raw wealth like gold, precious metals, and gems, from them. Want to see a small example of India's former wealth? Look no further than the crown that sat upon the late Queen Elizabeth's head. The world would look totally different today if Britain wasn't able to steal from India to help get them through two world wars.

      India's continued investment to prove that they can keep up with powerful western nations will only help prop up their nation as a whole, and help lift all out of poverty over time. Count the poor on the streets of Bangalore (a major IT hub), and compare it with other Indian cities that haven't see the same level of investment, like Calcutta, and you'll see what first hand what it can do.
    • it is not the governments job to feed you. you are responsible for yourself.
      • it is not the governments job to feed you. you are responsible for yourself.

        Some of us also think we're responsible for our fellow man. When the government takes money from the people to build weapons they don't need, that money is no longer available to either feed the poor directly or create jobs or infrastructure for them to feed themselves.

  • Before one of the scientists/engineers involved sells the tech to North Korea and don't say it wouldn't happen how do you think NK got nuclear tech in the 1st place!
    • Re:How Long? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theycallmeB ( 606963 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @10:20AM (#39745517)
      North Korea got nuclear weapons technology from Pakistan, and possibly from China many years ago, not from India. Since India is not, unlike their neighbors to the north-west, bat-shit insane, they probably know that selling asymmetric weapons tech to countries that are bat-shit insane does not advance any of India's political or economic interests. As such they have probably already taken measures comparable to the US or France to secure their project rather than cold calling every drug exporting, famine inducing, hereditary dictatorship in their Rolodex.

      And for similar reasons, nobody is any more worked up about this than if France tested a new missile, and maybe even a little less concerned than if the US developed a new ICBM.
  • Stop acting like this is fair, the ones who got there first are the ones who decides who has these weapons and who doesn't. This "Oh but we have nukes! why do we get nukes and no one else does?" is old and just shows off your bleeding heart and inability to understand how things work on the world stage. India isn't run by a, like stated above, a batshit leader who is constantly threatening their neighbors. I say more power to them, they can have their rockets.
  • newspapers reported that america redoubled its position against nuclear proliferation across the globe. A swift and decisively negative condemnation was issued from the global superpower.

    directed toward iran.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @11:41AM (#39746423) Journal

    You know, I've always wondered why (in the original series at least) there seemed to be few, if any Indians or Chinese for that matter.

    Then I remembered a line that Spock once said that went something like "the 15 million dead from WWI, the 60 million in WWII or the 600 million in WWIII". (He was talking about the stupidity of mankind after Kirk's boasting).

    Then the movie "Star Trek: First Contact" came out which was supposedly set in North America after a big war(?) had impoverished the populace but hadn't reduced the country to radioactive cinders.

    I never read any of the "official" (or unofficial) histories but I was wondering; was a nuclear war supposed to have taken place, not between the U.S. and USSR but in Asia? Between India and China perhaps?

    (I'm glad to have gone to see the Taj Mahal last year; I've always thought that if Pakistan and India went to all out war, it would be the first to go.)

    Ok, ok I realize that probably the real reason for the dearth of these nationalities was probably due to the script choices of Gene Roddenberry or some casting decisions but I was wondering if there was any justification after the fact. Anyway, if so I hope life DOESN'T follow art!

    • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

      You know, I've always wondered why (in the original series at least) there seemed to be few, if any Indians or Chinese for that matter.

      Well there was "Space Seed", which lead to the film "The Wrath of Kahn".

  • Agni vs Agni (Score:5, Informative)

    by bayankaran ( 446245 ) on Friday April 20, 2012 @12:20PM (#39746951) Homepage
    AGNI means fire in many Indian languages. The word also refers to the god of fire "Agni". Slashdot description "Named after Hindu God of fire Agni" - is misleading and insinuates some type of religious weaponry. It is like saying Saree is a Hindu dress...Saree is an Indian dress.
    Hinduism is more of a way of life than a religion. And India has the largest number of Muslims after Indonesia. The 2% of Christians will be more than 20 million - much more than many European nations. This plurality one should not forget.
    In fact the chief scientist of AGNI mission - Tessy Thomas - [] - is from my state Kerala. She is a Christian and she named her son Tejas - a Hindu name. I am a Christian, but my name is Hindu.
    Try to understand the complexity...generalizing a complex country is the basic mistake Western journalists make about India.
    • AGNI means fire in many Indian languages. The word also refers to the god of fire "Agni"

      On an unrelated note, the root itself is more widespread than that - it goes all the way back to Proto-Indo-European, and still means "fire" or something fire-related in many other languages. For example, English "ignite" is cognate, and so is Russian "ogon" (fire).

      (I find these things sorta fascinating, and it never hurts to get another reminder that our cultures are all related in some way or another, and not completely alien)

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.