Pakistan successfully test fired a nuclear-capable intermediate-range ballistic missile yesterday, 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 Pakistani General Talat Masood, a defense analyst, said it would be able to hit targets between 2,500km to 3,000km away — putting targets in India well within reach.
On Thursday last week, 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,” the 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.
Pakistan’s most recent missile test came last month with the launch of the short-range nuclear--capable Abdali.
The missile launched yesterday, 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.
Pakistani Strategic Plans Division Director-General Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai congratulated scientists and engineers on the successful launch, and the accuracy of the missile in reaching its target.
He said the improved version of the Shaheen 1A would further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan’s deterrence abilities.
Pakistan’s arsenal includes short, medium and long range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.
The two countries were on the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, where a slow-moving peace dialogue resumed in March last year after a three-year suspension following the terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008
India and the US blamed the attacks on Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Islamabad later admitted that the assault was at least partly planned in Pakistan.