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India & Pakistan Ballistic Missile Tests

South Asia Nuclear Crisis - Special Feature

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:

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 [nuclear] 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,

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, withone 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,

Pakistan Ghauri-II Test, 14 April

Announcement & Details of Test


Government statement, 14 April 1999

"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. ...

Pakistan had given prior notification of this test to India, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed at Lahore in February. ...

According to data collected from the test, all design parameters were validated. ..."

Source: Pakistan spurns West, matches India test, Reuters, 14 April.


'Pakistan test fires Ghauri-II,' information provided by the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), 14 April 1999

"Pakistan again came out with a matching response to [the] test firing of Agni-II by India just within 72 hours by testing an advance version of Ghauri with a range of 2,000 km and the ability to carry a 1,000 kg payload of [a] nuclear warhead and conventional weapons.

Here are the details:

The twelve-minute test flight of the Ghauri-II took place at Malote (Jhelum), just 40 miles east of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, Government officials said on condition of anonymity.

The test was not a surprise, with analysts anticipating Pakistan would respond to a missile test conducted Sunday by India.

The Ghauri-II, an advanced version of a previously tested ballistic missile, has a range of 1,200 miles, making it the longest-range missile in Pakistan's arsenal.

According to reports in Pakistani newspapers, India was notified Tuesday of Pakistan's to test fire the missile...

With the [May 1998] underground tests, India and Pakistan declared themselves nuclear powers - generating fears that the next step would be the development of a nuclear weapons arsenal.

Pakistan says it doesn't want to embark on an arms race, but won't be left behind if India begins developing nuclear arms. ..."

Source: Government of Pakistan website,

Editor's note: on 15 April, Pakistan test-fired the medium-range (600 km) Shaheen (Hatf-IV) surface-to-surface missile, also reportedly 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 Shaheen missile was fired from a site near Karachi. The missile, said to capable of carrying a 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) warhead, is a 13-metre solid-fuel rocket. 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.)


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

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

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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