Pakistan successfully test-fired an intermediate range nuclear-capable missile yesterday, less than a week after India tested a 5,000-km range missile that can reach deep inside China.
“Pakistan successfully conducted the launch of intermediate range ballistic missile Hatf-4 Shaheen-1A weapons system,” an army statement said yesterday.
“The missile is an improved version of Shaheen-1 with improvements in range and technical parameters,” the statement said.
The missile is capable of “carrying nuclear and conventional warheads”, said the statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Pakistan carried out the test after India test-fired its long-range nuclear-capable Agni-V missile on April 19. With its launch from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast, India emerged as a major missile powerhouse of the world, having developed Agni-V almost entirely indigenously over the last four years.
Only the US, Russia, China, France and Britain have missiles in their arsenal that can hit targets 5,000 km and beyond.
Senior Pakistani officials involved in the country’s missile system witnessed Wednesday’s missile test, reported Xinhua.
The army statement did not mention the place where the test was conducted, but said that the missile hit the target in sea.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani congratulated the scientists and the military on the successful launch of the missile system.
The nuclear-capable Shaheen-1 missile has originally a range of 700 km, according to the army.
In March, Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
The Hatf-2 missile can travel up to 180 km and deliver nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.
Pakistan last April successfully test-fired another short-range surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile.
Nasr, which also belongs to the Hatf series, can hit targets up to 60 km away.
Barely two months before that, it tested the nuclear-capable Hatf-VII cruise missile that has a range of 600 km.
India and Pakistan, which have fought four wars since their partition in 1947, regularly test-fire missiles to display their capability.