Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pakistan test-fires N-capable ballistic missile


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Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday successfully test fired the nuclear-capable Hatf-V ballistic missile with a range of 1,300 km that could hit targets deep inside India, with the military saying the launch was aimed at strengthening the country’s deterrence capability.

A statement from the military described the test as a “training launch” conducted by a strategic missile group of the Army Strategic Force Command.

The test of the medium range ballistic missile, also known as the Ghauri, marked the culmination of a field training exercise aimed at testing the operational readiness of the Army Strategic Force Command.

The Ghauri is a “liquid fuel missile which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads over a distance of 1,300 km,” the statement said.

“The test consolidates and strengthens Pakistan’s deterrence capability and national security,” it said.

The statement did not say where the test was carried out.

“The launch was monitored by the ‘National Command Centre through the medium of the National Command Authority’s fully automated strategic command and control support system”, the statement said.

The National Command Authority controls Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The military said the strategic command and control support system enables “robust command and control capability of all strategic assets with round the clock situational awareness in a digitised network centric environment” for decision makers at the National Command Centre.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf congratulated the Army Strategic Force Command on their training, which was “reflected in the proficient handling of the weapon system in the field and the accuracy of the training launch”.

Pakistan has tested a wide range of nuclear-capable missiles, ranging from the Hatf-IX tactical missile with a range of 60 km to the Hatf-IV, this year as part of efforts to strengthen its nuclear arsenal to counter India’s conventional superiority.

US intelligence estimates last year put the number of nuclear weapons developed by Pakistan at 90 to 110. Analysts say its nuclear arsenal is the fastest growing in the world.

Pakistan is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It says its nuclear weapons capability is a deterrent against India’s much larger conventional military. (PTI)


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