India has successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable missile that can reach Beijing and Eastern Europe.

The test puts the emerging Asian power into a small club of nations with intercontinental nuclear weapons capabilities.

Footage showed the rocket with a range of more than 5,000km blasting through clouds from an island off India's east coast.

The defence minister said the test was "immaculate".

"Today's launch represents another milestone in our quest for our security, preparedness and to explore the frontiers of science," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a congratulatory message to the scientists who developed the rocket.

The Indian-made Agni V is the crowning achievement of a programme developed primarily with a threat from neighbouring China in mind.

It will not be operational for at least two years, the government says.

Only the UN Security Council permanent members - China, France, Russia the United States and Britain - along with Israel, are believed to have such long-range weapons.