Pakistan test fires n-capable ballistic missiles (Lead)

May 8th, 2010 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, May 8 (DPA) Pakistan Saturday successfully tested two ballistic missiles capable of delivering both conventional and non-conventional warheads, the military said.
The launches of the short-range Hatf III and medium-range Hatf IV were conducted at the end of annual field exercises of Army Strategic Force Command.

“Both missiles can carry conventional and nuclear warheads to a range of 290 km and 650 km respectively,” military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said.

Pakistan’s arsenal of missiles target India, while the latter also has missile systems capable of hitting major Pakistani cities.

The two countries are bitter enemies and have fought three wars, two over Himalayan region of Kashmir, since they gained independence from Britain in August 1947.

The latest test came a week after their prime ministers met in Bhutan on the sidelines of a regional conference, and promised to improve relations.

Saturday’s tests are unlikely to aggravate tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours, as they regularly carry out missile testing and notify each other in advance.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who witnessed the tests along with senior military officers, said it was time for the world to recognise Pakistan as a nuclear power with equal rights and responsibilities.

He also demanded that Pakistan be given a Nuclear Supplier Group waiver for civil nuclear energy cooperation, as energy is a vital economic security need and nuclear power is a clean way forward.

“Pakistan is capable of providing nuclear fuel cycle services, under IAEA safeguards, and this offer was also made at the Nuclear Security Summit,” Gilani said.

Pakistan first conducted nuclear tests in 1998, weeks after India’s initial tests, and has been demanding recognition as a declared nuclear state since then.

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