(Reuters) - India's test-firing of its longest-range nuclear-capable missile, the Agni III, was unsuccessful after the projectile crashed into the sea despite a smooth take-off, a defense ministry official said on Monday.
The launch of the ballistic Agni, which means "fire" in Sanskrit, took place on Sunday morning from the well-guarded Wheeler island off India's eastern coast, reports Trend.
Soon after the launch of the missile, which has a range of more than 3,000 km (1,870 miles), another defense official had said that it had been a successful test-firing.
But on Monday, the defense ministry official in New Delhi confirmed Indian media reports which said the two-stage missile plunged into Bay of Bengal after going up for 12 km (8 miles) and then losing height.
The missile was in the air for about five minutes, at least 10 minutes less than expected.
"The take-off was successful but there were some problems later," Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted in The Times of India as saying.
"It will take some time to analyze the data about the flight performance," said Mukherjee, who witnessed the launch.
India, which has estimated 100-to-150 nuclear warheads and staged tests in 1974 and 1998, is developing a range of missiles including the Agni series as part of a defense strategy against neighbors China and Pakistan, also armed with atomic weapons.