One week after sharply condemning North Korea's rocket launch, the White House on Thursday declined to explicitly criticize India for testing a potent missile with the range to carry a nuclear payload to China.
"We understand that India tested an Agni V ballistic missile," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement emailed to Yahoo News. "We urge all nuclear-capable states to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities, and continue to discourage actions that might destabilize the South Asia region."
Washington regards India, the world's most populous democracy, as a critical U.S. partner but views secretive North Korea as a dangerous rogue state. Still, Vietor's comments reflected American concerns about the frequently tense rivalry between India and neighbor Pakistan.
When asked about the planned test, State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Wednesday highlighted the "very strong strategic and security partnership with India." He also added that "India has a solid nonproliferation record," implicitly contrasting India with North Korea, which regularly tops Washington's list of countries suspected of selling weapons know-how to the highest bidder.
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