Pakistan tests missile days after India's launch


Pakistan successfully launched an upgraded ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead today, days after its neighbour and arch enemy India conducted its own missile test, the Pakistani military said.

The Hatf IV Shaheen-1A missile was launched into the sea, the military said in a written statement.

It was described as an intermediate-range missile having a longer range than its predecessor, the Shaheen-1, which is believed to fly up to 465 miles.

"The improved version of Shaheen-1A will further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan's deterrence abilities," said Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, who witnessed the launch and is responsible for the country's nuclear programme.

India announced last Thursday that it had successfully test-launched a new nuclear-capable, long-range missile, the Agni-V, which has a range of 3,100 miles.

Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since they achieved independence from the British empire in 1947. Relations have warmed somewhat over the last year, especially with respect to trade, but the two still consider each other enemies and regularly conduct tests of weapons systems to display their military prowess.

India's latest test, however, was conducted with an eye toward its eastern neighbour, China, rather than its western neighbour, Pakistan. The Agni-V gave India the capability of striking Beijing and Shanghai for the first time, and the government hailed the launch as a major boost to its efforts to counter China's regional dominance and become an Asian power in its own right.