AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
ISLAMABAD:Pakistan successfully test fired a nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile on Wednesday, the military said, less than a week after India test launched a long range missile.
The exact range of the missile was not revealed, but retired General Talat Masood, a defence analyst, said intermediate range ballistic missiles could go up to 2,500 to 3,000 kilometres, which would put almost all of India within reach.
Last Thursday, India test fired its long range Agni V missile, which can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China.
“Pakistan today successfully conducted the launch of the intermediate range ballistic missile Hatf IV Shaheen-1A weapon system,” Pakistan’s military said in a statement.
India and Pakistan — which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 — have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
Today’s missile, which landed in the sea, was a version of the Shaheen-1 with improvements in range and technical parameters, the military said, and can carry nuclear and conventional warheads.
“This is part of Pakistan’s programme to develop nuclear and missile deterrence. It has a series of missiles in its inventory. This is perhaps the longest range missile in its programme,” retired general Masood said.
“The whole object is essentially India-centric while India’s own programme is directed towards China.
India’s missile test last week brought a muted international response, with China downplaying its significance, insisting the countries were partners not rivals, and Washington calling for “restraint” among nuclear powers.
This was in sharp contrast to the widespread fury and condemnation that greeted North Korea’s unsuccessful test launch of a long-range rocket on April 13.