India's missile interceptor test fails

India's homegrown missile interception system failed to shoot down an incoming missile during a test Monday, a Defense Ministry official said.

A medium-range and nuclear-capable Prithvi II surface-to-surface missile was fired from a test site in the eastern state of Orissa, but the interceptor missile failed to take off due to a technical snag, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Other details were not available. The test was believed to be routine and part of an ongoing series of trials.

Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan usually notify each other ahead of major missile tests, in keeping with an agreement between the two nations.

It was not immediately known whether India informed Pakistan about Monday's test. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

"It would undergo several more tests before the design is technologically confirmed," saidRahul Bedi, a South Asia analyst with London-based Jane's Defense Weekly.

The system is part of an anti-ballistic sheet that would provide protection against incoming missiles, Bedi told The Associated Press.

"The level of errors in this game is very high. It's important because basically it is aimedas a defensive measure against nuclear rivals China and Pakistan," he said.

India has carried out three successful tests, starting with one in 2006.

If the interceptor missile can be transformed into a viable defense system, it would see India join an elite club of nations with working missile shield.