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India to develop anti-missile defence system by 2010

India will develop an indigenous defence system to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles by 2010, a defence official said.

The system was currently being designed and would go on trial from 2009, said V.K. Saraswat, the chief controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

It would be capable of detecting, intercepting and destroying intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles from any country, he added on the sidelines of a science conference that ended Monday.

"We are developing a robust anti-missile defence system that will have high-speed interceptions for engaging ballistic missiles in the 5,000-kilometre (3,000-mile) class and above," he said.

India had recently shown it was able to handle targets in the class up to 2,000-2,500 kilometres, he added.

The country would join Israel, Russia and the US in developing and possessing such technology once the system is rolled out.

The defence system's tracking and fire control radars have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in collaboration with Israel and France, he said.

Nuclear-capable India also plans to test-fire in mid-2009 a missile capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 6,000 kilometres, Saraswat said.

A missile with a range of 3,000 kilometres was successfully test-fired last year from Wheeler Island off the eastern coast.

India has fought three wars with Pakistan and one with China since independence from British rule in 1947.

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