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DATE=4/11/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-247898 TITLE=INDIA / MISSILE (L) BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIA HAS TEST-FIRED AN UPGRADED VERSION OF ITS AGNI BALLISTIC MISSILE. SUNDAY'S TEST WAS THE FIRST FIRING OF THE MISSILE IN FIVE YEARS AND COMES IN DEFIANCE OF INTERNATIONAL APPEALS. V-O-A'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS FROM NEW DELHI, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAS EXPRESSED REGRET OVER THE MISSILE TEST. TEXT: THE UPGRADED VERSION OF THE MISSILE, KNOWN AS THE AGNI TWO, HAS A RANGE OF ABOUT TWO-THOUSAND-500 KILOMETERS. THE MISSILE, WHICH IS BELIEVED TO BE CAPABLE OF CARRYING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WAS LAST TEST FIRED IN 1994. SUNDAY'S TEST TOOK PLACE FROM AN ISLAND OFF INDIA'S EASTERN COAST. INDIAN OFFICIALS SAY -- BASED ON AN AGREEMENT SIGNED EARLIER THIS YEAR -- PAKISTAN WAS GIVEN PRIOR NOTIFICATION OF SUNDAY'S MISSILE TEST. THERE HAS BEEN INTENSE PRESSURE ON INDIA NOT TO TEST FIRE THE AGNI TWO, SINCE BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN CONDUCTED NUCLEAR TESTS LAST YEAR. INDIA'S INFORMATION AND BROADCAST MINISTER PRAMOD MAHAJAN SAYS SUNDAY'S MISSILE TEST AND LAST YEAR'S NUCLEAR TESTS SHOW INDIA WILL NOT BUDGE WHEN IT COMES TO NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUES. MR. MAHAJAN SAYS SUNDAY'S TEST WENT WELL. // MAHAJAN ACTUALITY // I'M HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT INDIA TODAY (SUNDAY) HAS SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED AN I-R-B-M (INTERMEDIATE RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILE) THE AGNI TWO. THE LAUNCH TOOK PLACE AT TEN AM (0430 UTC). IT WAS PERFECT IN TEXT BOOK FASHION. // END ACTUALITY // MR. MAHAJAN SAYS INDIAN DEFENSE MINISTER GEORGE FERNANDEZ AND THE HEAD OF INDIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM, ABDUL KALAM, WERE PRESENT AT SUNDAY'S TEST-FIRING. MR. MAHAJAN IS DENYING THE TEST HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH HELPING THE HINDU-NATIONALIST GOVERNMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE. INDIA'S PRIME MINISTER HAS LOST THE SUPPORT OF A KEY COALITION PARTNER AND HIS GOVERNMENT COULD FACE A PARLIAMENT VOTE OF CONFIDENCE LATER THIS WEEK. AN OFFICIAL AT THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN NEW DELHI CALLS SUNDAY'S MISSILE TEST "REGRETTABLE." THE OFFICIAL -- WHO ASKED NOT TO BE IDENTIFIED -- SAYS THE TEST SEEMS OUT OF STEP WITH RECENT DEVELOPMENTS. HE POINTED TO THE RECENT BUS TRIP TO PAKISTAN BY INDIA'S PRIME MINISTER, THAWING RELATIONS BETWEEN INDIA AND CHINA, AND A SERIES OF TALKS BETWEEN SENIOR INDIAN AND U-S DIPLOMATS ON NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL ISSUES IN SOUTH ASIA. (SIGNED) NEB / JLT / DT / WD 11-Apr-99 5:08 AM EDT (0908 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .