NEW YORK - India’s test of an intercontinental missile with nuclear capability and a range of 3,100 miles has raised fears of an Asian arms race, as New Delhi stepped up its defence spending to become world’s top arms buyer, a leading US newspaper said on Thursday.‘The launching comes amid growing international apprehension about the militarisation of Asia and a stepped-up strategic rivalry between the US and China in Asia’, The New York Times said in its report of the launch by India of the Agni V missile.The missile’s range gives it the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai, ‘heightening fears of an Asian arms race’, the Times said.The missile launch ‘increases the perception of an arms race, and the reality of an arms race, in East Asia particularly between China and India’, the report quoted Graeme Herd, head of the international security programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, which trains diplomats on peace and security issues, as stating.Herd said the timing of the launch may be seen as particularly provocative after the US stepped up its military presence in the Pacific.‘All of this, from the Chinese perspective, looks like a movement from balancing China to containing China’, Herd said ,adding, that this could inspire China to strengthen its weapons stockpile further and forge closer ties with Pakistan and Central Asian countries.The Wall Street Journal quoted experts as saying that Agni-V is the most advanced missile in India’s inventory and ‘places the country on a footing with Beijing’, which already has missiles capable of striking deep into Indian territory.Analysts say France, Russia, China and the United States also have this technology, while Israel is believed to have developed such missiles.Other US media reports quoted Indian Defence analyst Rahul Bedi as saying that much needed to be done, noting that a government that is notoriously slow with defence decisions now needs to push forward with more tests, work out strategic doctrines, define targets, figure out manufacturing issues and how many missiles to build among a host of other issues.‘We need to build on today’s success ... to build in a very capable deterrence capability’, he said. ‘But going back to past records I don’t know if we can sustain it’, he added.The Indian navy took command of a Russian nuclear submarine earlier this year, and India is expected to take delivery of a retrofitted Soviet-built aircraft carrier soon.