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Almost all Indian missiles may fall under new missile treaty’s limits, expert says

February 06, 19:33 UTC+3 NEW DELHI

Vice President of India’s Observer Research Foundation Nandan Unnikrishnan pointed out that the INF Treaty applied to land-based missiles of intermediate range and shorter range

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NEW DELHI, February 6. /TASS/. Almost all Indian missiles may fall under the limits of a potential new treaty on intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles that would involve an expanded list of counties, Vice President of India’s Observer Research Foundation Nandan Unnikrishnan told TASS.

"If we imagine that such a treaty is made, then most of our ballistic missiles - the Agni class missiles - may fall under its limits," he said.

The expert pointed out that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) applied to land-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers).

The bulk of India’s missile arsenal is made up of the Agni class missiles, including the Agni-1 missile with a range of 700-1000 kilometers, the Agni-2 with a range of 2,500-3,000 kilometers, the Agni-3 with a range of over 3,000 kilometers and the Agni-4 that has a range of up to 4,000 kilometers. All of them would fall under the limits of such a treaty.

According to earlier reports, India is working on the Agni-5 and Agni-6 missiles that will have a range of over 5,000 kilometers.

"If all countries that have this kind of weapons decided to give them up, it would be tempting. But India will not even consider the possibility of joining such a treaty unless China agrees to do the same. However, judging by recent media reports, Beijing opposes increasing the number of the treaty’s participants, calling on Moscow and Washington to negotiate a solution," Unnikrishnan noted.

INF Treaty issue

The INF Treaty, signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). Washington on many occasions accused Russia of violating the Treaty but Moscow strongly dismissed all accusations and expressed grievances concerning Washington’s non-compliance.

On February 1, Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the suspension of Washington’s obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2. Washington is determined to withdraw from the Treaty in six months unless Russia returns to "real and verifiable" compliance.

On February 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was also suspending the Treaty. He handed down instructions to refrain from initiating talks with Washington on the issue and stressed that the US needed to show readiness for an equal and substantive dialogue.

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