India Wants to Deploy and Possibly Export the Prithvi

India declared in January that it would mass-produce and deploy the 250-kilometer range Prithvi missile, despite U.S. pressure on India not to do so.

The announcement was accompanied by news stories reporting that the missile would also be for sale. In a catalogue entitled Indian Defence Products, the reports said, the Prithvi was listed among Indian “defense products available for export.” Developed by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (Defense Research and Development Organization) (DRDO) and produced by the state-run Bharat Dynamics, Ltd., the Prithvi can carry a nuclear, chemical or high-explosive warhead far enough to reach the major Pakistani cities of Islamabad and Karachi, as well as Pakistan’s secret nuclear weapon plant at Kahuta.

These missile developments come on the heels of a December report in the New York Times quoting the Wisconsin Project that India appeared to be preparing for a nuclear weapon test. As the Risk Report went to press, however, no further test preparations by India had been observed.

India has also carried out preliminary test firings of the longer-range Agni missile, but has apparently suspended testing of the Agni for the time being.