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India’s Missile Can Counter Threats

April 12, 1998

BOMBAY, India (AP) _ India’s medium-range Prithvi missile can counter any threat posed by the long-range missile that neighboring Pakistan tested last week, India’s air force chief said Sunday.

Pakistan announced Monday it had tested a domestically produced Ghauri ballistic missile, capable of reaching into the interior of India with its 900-mile range.

``Prithvi is enough to take care of any threat from Ghauri,″ Air Chief Marshal S.K. Sareen told reporters at the end of an air show commemorating 50 years of India’s independence from British rule.

India’s surface-to-surface Prithvi missile can deliver a 2,200-pound warhead up to 120 miles. India has also tested the long-range Agni missile, which has a range of 1,500 miles, but suspended research on it in 1994 because of U.S. pressure.

The Ghauri is named after a 12th century Afghan emperor who attacked India and defeated the Hindu prince Prithvi.

Neither Pakistan nor India is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The neighboring countries, which have fought three wars since they became independent of Britain in 1947, are accused of spending huge amounts on arms.

Sareen said India’s air force needed to modernize and that $300 million was already being spent to update MiG-21 fighter jets.

Tens of thousands of people converged on downtown Bombay or crowded onto rooftops to view the airshow, the city’s first since 1959.

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