Pakistan says it has successfully conducted a “training launch” of a ballistic missile capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads up to 1,500 kilometers.
The move came amid Pakistan's heightened military tensions with neighboring rival India, and it is seen by observers as part of the efforts Islamabad is making to keep pace with New Delhi's massive investments in military hardware and advancements.
After the indigenously produced Shaheen-II medium range rocket was fired into the Arabian Sea on Thursday, military spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said that it is “a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.”
Ghafoor noted the head of the military unit that oversees the country’s nuclear program witnessed the training launch along with other senior officials, scientists and engineers.
Pakistan has already test-fired the Shaheen-III nuclear-capable missile with a range of up to 1,700 miles, enabling it to strike all corners of India and reach deep into the Middle East, including Israel.
Thursday’s missile launch came a day after Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke briefly with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states in Kyrgyzstan. Following what he said was an informal interaction with Swaraj, Qureshi said he conveyed Pakistan’s readiness to engage in a dialogue with India to resolve all bilateral matters through negotiations.
Source : VOA