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FILE PHOTO - A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is displayed during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 26, 2013. REUTERS/B Mathur


NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India tested its longest-range intercontinental missile on Thursday, the defence ministry said, part of efforts to build a nuclear deterrent against neighbouring Pakistan and China.

The 5,000-km range (3,107-mile) Agni missile was tested from an island in India's eastern coast in the Bay of Bengal, the ministry said on its official Twitter account.

It said the launch was "a major boost to the defence capabilities" of India.

The Agni-V is an advanced version of the indigenously built Agni, or Fire, series, part of a programme that started in the 1980s. It has been tested previously before.

New Delhi says it faces a twin threat from both bitter foe Pakistan, which is developing a nuclear and missile programme of its own, as well as China. A long-running dispute over the Himalayan border with China has flared in recent years.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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