Text Only | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports
Back to the Acronym home page
British Policy
South Asia
About Acronym

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 36, April 1999

India & Pakistan Missile Tests

I. India Agni-II Test, 11 April

Announcement & Details of Test

'Agni-II launched,' statement released by the Foreign Ministry, 11 April 1999

"Agni-II was launched at 9.47 A.M. today from a new launching site on the Orissa Coast. This information was given by the Defence Minister, Shri George Fernandes, at a news conference here [New Delhi] today. The missile reached the point of impact in eleven minutes as scheduled. The launching of the missile was tracked by a network of stations and also Naval ships all the way down to the impact point.

Shri Fernandes said the salient feature of Agni-II and the significant of today's tests were:

  • We have reached to the point of operationalisation of Agni as a weapon system;
  • Today's launch demonstrated our mobile launch capability;
  • This is a solid propulsion system. The range is in excess of 2,000 kms;
  • All the features are designed to carry [a] special weapons payload. It has state-of-the-art navigation guidance and controls and sophisticated onboard packages and advanced communications interface.
Shri Fernandes said today was a great day for India and the most satisfying [aspect] was the fact that the launch took place at the scheduled time without any hitch whatsoever. The entire flight of the missile from the launch point to the impact point was under constant observation. It demonstrated that we have achieved perfection of a very high order in missile technology.

Shri Fernandes said he was impressed by the extraordinary teamwork of all those involved in the launch and also [the] networking. Our scientific community had shown its capabilities and its dedication. The Prime Minister, Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee took tremendous interest in the project and gave support to the Defence Ministry and DRDO [Defence Research & Development Organization] to go ahead with it, Shri Fernandes said.

The Defence Minister said that the Government, first through [the] Pokhran tests and now by operationalising Agni-II, has shown that no one can put pressure on us when we take steps to see that [the] nation's security concerns are taken care of. "

Source: Government of India website, http://www.indiagov.org/govt/agni.htm

Editor's note: at the press conference referred to above, Fernandes observed - "This concerns our national security. No one can put pressure on us. We don't need to be told be anybody about restraint. ... I believe we have reached a point where nobody from anywhere can dare to threaten us..." (India tests missile, ready to face threats, Reuters, 11 April.)

Statement by Indian Prime Minister

'Address to the nation by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee,' 11 April 1999

"I am happy to inform you that the advanced version of Agni, India's Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), was test-fired this morning. The test was successful on every count.

On behalf of all of you, I congratulate and express our deep appreciation to the team of Indian scientists, technicians, jawans and other defence personnel for this historic achievement. With today's success, they have once again shown that they are second to none in the world. Agni is a tribute to their dedication and teamwork.

It is also a vindication of our steadfast commitment to self-reliance. In a rapidly changing security environment, India cannot depend on others to defend her. We have to develop our own indigenous capabilities. Agni is a symbol of that resurgent India which is able to say: 'Yes, we will stand on our own feet.'

As was the case with the nuclear tests at Pokhran in May last year, the test firing of Agni missile is also a purely defensive step. It is not meant for aggression against any nation. Rather, Agni is proof of our determination to strengthen our national security so comprehensively that we can defend ourselves. I have said earlier, and I reiterate, that India remains committed to minimum deterrence, to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and never to use them against non-nuclear weapon States.

In a statement I made on 15 December 1998, I had informed Parliament that an advanced version of Agni was under development. I had also announced that its flight testing would be conducted fully in accordance with established international practices. Today's test is part of this announced programme of integrated missile development.

In order to reinforce the climate of confidence in the world about India's defensive security programme, my Government had in advance informed the Government of Pakistan, along with major powers, on the 9th of this month of our decision to test-launch Agni II.

India wants peace in her neighbourhood and peace in the world. And we shall continue to strive for this noble goal. My recent bus journey to Pakistan is an earnest attempt to open a new chapter of peace and cooperation in the history of the Indian subcontinent.

Dear Countrymen, ever since you elected my Government in March last year. I have been working with one single aim, with one single purpose: to make India strong and self-confident in every sphere of development and defence. We have worked with sincerity and determination. Against all the odds created by global recession and sanctions imposed by some countries after Pokhran, we have put the Indian economy back on the growth path. ...

India is making impressive strides in new areas of science and technology. The recent launch of INSAT 2E satellite has taken India into a new orbit of world-class satellite communication. Our success stories in Information Technology have put the country on the path to becoming a Software Superpower.

India is on the move. And no one can hinder our progress if we remain unwavering and determined. The need of the hour is: Unity and Stability.

As we approach Baisakhi, and celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Khalsa, let us take into our hearts, the prayer of the great Guru Govind Singhji Maharaj. ... 'O God, bless me/That nothing deters me from doing good deeds./And when I'm obliged to fight,/I fight for sure to win.'

Let us make this prayer our resolve. Come, let us together make the 21st Century, India's Century."

Source: Government of India website, http://www.indiagov.org

Editor's note: the main opposition Congress party supported Vajpayee. According to spokesperson Ajit Jogi (12 April): "We are not seeing the launch of Agni-II from a political angle. We congratulate our scientists, engineers and soldiers related to defence." (Pakistan to 'respond' to India's nuclear missile test, Washington Post, 13 April.)

II. Pakistan Ghauri-II Test, 14 April & Shaheen Test, 15 April

Ghauri-II Test

Government statement, 14 April 1999:

"By the Grace of Allah Pakistan today successfully conducted a flight test of its HATF-V (Ghauri) missile. This was the second test of the Ghauri which has a range of 1,500 kms and can be tipped with any type of warhead. According to the data collected from the test all design parameters were validated.

The successful flight test is the result of Pakistan's technical prowess in the field of missile technology and is a tribute to the dedication, professionalism and patriotism of the community of scientists and engineers. The Prime Minister has congratulated Pakistani scientists and engineers for their outstanding achievement.

These tests are part of the research and development of Pakistan's indigenous missile programme which is an essential element of our policy of maintaining deterrence in the interest of our security. They demonstrate Pakistan's determination to defend itself, strengthen national security, and consolidate the strategic balance which was restored on 28 May, 1998.

Pakistan does not want a nuclear and missile race in South Asia and has made concrete proposals to India for a strategic restraint regime and for conventional and nuclear stabilisation in South Asia.

Pakistan had given prior notification of this test to India in accordance with the MOU [Memorandum-of-Understanding] signed at Lahore in February. We had also informed all immediate neighbours."

Source: Text of Pakistan's announcement of missile test, Reuters, 14 April.

Remarks by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, 14 April:

"There should be no arms race in the region. For over 50 years we have wasted our resources and time. Pakistan and India should settle all their problems, including Kashmir. There should be a race for development."

Source: Pakistan matches India missile, plans more, Reuters, 14 April.

Editor's notes: according to the Associated Press of Pakistan (Pakistan test fires Ghauri-II, APP, 14 April), the Government also provided the following details of the test-flight:

  • Test Fired Time: 10.45 (PST), 5.45 (GMT)
  • Test Fired Site: Tilla Firing Range (Jhelum)
  • Test Fall Site: Jewani (Baluchistan)
  • Missile Hit Duration: 12 minutes
The APP report also gave the range of the missile as 2,000 km (1,200 miles), as opposed to the 1,500 km figure given in the official Government statement quoted above. Reuters (Pakistan spurns West, matches India test, 14 April) reported that the distance of the test-flight was 937 miles. Other reports (Pakistan matches India missile, plans more, Reuters, 14 April), referred to a claim by Prime Minister Sharif that the range of the missile could be increased to 1,440 miles by reducing the weight of the 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs.) payload used in the 14 April test.

Shaheen Test

Editor's Summary:

On 15 April, Pakistan test-fired the medium-range (600 km) Shaheen (HATF-IV) surface-to-surface missile, also capable of carrying a nuclear payload, and then announced the conclusion "for now" of "the series of flight tests involving solid- and liquid-fuel rocket motor technologies which started yesterday." (Foreign Ministry statement quoted in Pakistan fires second missile, wants control, Reuters, 15 April.) After the announcement, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tariq Altaf told reporters in Islamabad (15 April) that India and Pakistan must now "both enter into" a "strategic restraint regime...which will define the limits of such weapons." Altaf added: "We believe that after the Agni-II test by India, Pakistan's proposal for a strategic restraint regime has acquired a greater validity. This proposal should now be looked upon even more seriously and more urgently." (Pakistan fires second missile, wants control, Reuters, 15 April.) According to the same Reuters report, the 13-metre long, solid-fuel Shaheen missile, fired from a site near Karachi, was said to be capable of carrying a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb.) nuclear or conventional warhead. According to the 15 April Foreign Ministry statement, both the Ghauri and Shaheen tests will "also contribute to Pakistan's HATF-II and HATF-III [missile] programmes which are in various stages of development, as well as our satellite and space programme..." (Pakistan tests surface-to-surface Shaheen missile, Associated Press of Pakistan, 16 April.)

III. Reaction

United Nations

Statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, 15 April:

"The Secretary-General feels strongly that the recent tests by India and Pakistan of medium-range missiles, as well as actions by other countries in the area of ballistic missile development and missile defences, have underscored the need for...multilaterally negotiated norms against the development of such weapons. Currently there is no treaty regulating missiles. International agreements on such norms would substantially improve prospects for future progress on existing bilateral and multilateral disarmament and arms control treaties."

Source: Secretary-General stresses need for multilaterally negotiated norms against development of missiles, UN Press Release SG/SM/6960, 15 April


Statement by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, 14 April:

"I urge both countries to refrain from entering into a destabilising missile arms race. A cycle of action and reaction will not help resolve the tense security situation in South Asia, or improve bilateral relations between India and Pakistan."

Source: Japan regrets Pakistan test, fears arms race, Reuters, 14 April.


Statement by Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, 14 April:

"We regret the decision taken by India and Pakistan to proceed with testing medium-range ballistic missiles. ... These actions fly in the face of international opinion, as expressed in United Nations Security Council resolution 1172. ... Significant financial resources which could be used to raise the level of human development, are being squandered on weapons that damage stability and security in the region."

Source: Canada regrets India-Pakistani missile tests, Reuters, 14 April.


Foreign Ministry statement, 12 April:

"It [the Agni-II test] could trigger a new round of [the] arms race in South Asia. The Chinese side expresses regret and concern."

Source: Pakistan to 'respond' to India's missile test, Washington Post, 13 April.

Remarks by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sun Yuxi, 15 April:

"This will not help the development of peace and stability in South Asia. ... We hope both sides will truly abide by UN Security Council resolution 1172..."

Source: China asks India, Pakistan to curb proliferation, Reuters, 15 April.


Foreign Ministry statement, 11 April:

"[It is] truly regrettable that India conducted a missile testing...despite the repeated requests made by Japan against it."

Source: India tests missile, ready to face threats, Reuters, 11 April.

Foreign Ministry statement, 14 April:

"Japan is apprehensive that the successive missile testing by India and Pakistan would go against the trend of their dialogue process as envisioned under the Lahore Declaration of this February, thus again heightening the tensions between them. ... Japan earnestly hopes that the test-firing would not intensify [the] nuclear arms and missile development race in the region. ... Japan renews its strong hope that India and Pakistan would refrain from further missile testing and make constructive efforts to avoid aggravating...regional tension."

Source: Japan regrets Pakistan test, fears arms race, Reuters, 14 April.

United Kingdom

Remarks by Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson, 11 April:

"[R]estraint in developing missiles and nuclear weapons is in India's long-term interest."

Source: India tests nuclear-capable Agni missile, Reuters, 11 April.

United States

Remarks by White House spokesperson Nanda Chitre, 11 April:

"We were informed in advance of the [Agni-II] test and we told the Government we regretted the decision. ... While we appreciate India's efforts to provide transparency, we regret the decision to go ahead with this test...[which] appears to be out of step with recent political developments in the region including the recent Lahore summit. The United States believes concrete restraints by India would further positive relations among countries in the region."

Source: US says [it] was informed in advance of India test, Reuters, 11 April.

Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth, 14 April:

"We hoped that Pakistan would not respond in a tit-for-tat fashion to the Indian missile test on Sunday. Both sides have said they want to meet their security requirements at the lowest possible levels. We would like to see concrete steps by both countries that they intend to do so. ... [W]e believe that India has a special responsibility in this regard. Clearly, Pakistan is responding to Indian actions, including the missile test and earlier nuclear tests. Perhaps Pakistan would also respond to positive steps by India."

Source: US regrets subcontinent missile tests, says Inderfurth, United States Information Service, 14 April

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

Return to top of page

Return to List of Contents

Return to Acronym Main Page