In part of a bid to become a recognized nuclear power Pakistan has test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles that can be equipped with nuclear warheads. The short-range missiles (400 miles and 180 miles respectively) are only regional threats, but could signal a move towards further development. They also spark the fears that terrorist groups, such as the Taliban, could get their hands on nuclear weapons technology.
Pakistan successfully test-fired two ballistic missiles Saturday capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the military said.
The Shaheen-1 missile has a range of about 400 miles (650 kilometers), while the second Ghaznavi missile could hit targets at a distance of 180 miles (290 kilometers), an army statement said. Both can carry conventional and nuclear warheads.
Pakistan’s missiles are mostly intended for any confrontation with archrival India, and the range of the Shaheen-1 would include the Indian capital of New Delhi. Saturday’s tests are unlikely to aggravate tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors, since they both routinely conduct missile tests.
The latest Pakistani missile test came more than a week after the leaders of two sides met in Bhutan on the sidelines of a regional conference, hoping to improve relations that have been strained since the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other senior army and civil officials witnessed the launches on Saturday, which “successfully hit the target areas,” the statement said.
Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998 by conducting nuclear tests in response to those carried out by India. Islamabad test-fired its first missile that same year.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, two over control of the Himalayan region of Kashmir.