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Pak Test Fires Shaheen-I, Ghaznavi Ballistic Missiles

Pakistan on Saturday test fired two short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads and striking Indian cities, with Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani saying it was time for the world to recognise his
PTI May 08, 2010 13:09 IST
PTI
Pakistan on Saturday test fired two short-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads and striking Indian cities, with Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani saying it was time for the world to recognise his country as a "de jure" atomic power.

The armed forces conducted "training launches" of the Shaheen-I missile with a range of 650 km and the Ghaznavi missile with a range of 290 km at the conclusion of an annual field training exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command.

The tests carried out in the presence of Gilani were aimed at "testing the operational readiness of Strategic Missile Groups equipped with Ghaznavi and Shaheen missile systems," said a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations.

Addressing troops in the exercise area, Gilani "emphasised that it is time for the world to recognise Pakistan as a de jure nuclear power with equal rights and responsibilities," the statement said.

Gilani demanded that the country be given a waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group for civil nuclear energy cooperation as "energy is a vital economic security need of Pakistan and nuclear energy 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" in Washington last month, he said.

Gilani said that "there is now a need for the world to move on beyond safety and security concerns. These were laid to rest at the Nuclear Security Summit (hosted by the US) where Pakistan forcefully projected her forthright stance on the issue and the world expressed satisfaction at Pakistan's nuclear security arrangements."

Pakistan had developed a "strong nuclear deterrence capability" and the armed forces are "fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan's security against all kinds of aggression," he said.

Gilani assured the military that his government will "continue to support the strategic programme and meet all its needs."

Both Ghaznavi, also known as Hatf-III, and Shaheen I, also known as Hatf-IV, can carry conventional and nuclear warheads and are capable of hitting Indian cities.

Apart from Gilani, the launch of the missiles was witnessed by a gathering that included Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Tariq Majid, naval chief Admiral Noman Bashir, Strategic Plans Division Director General Lt Gen (Retd) Kahlid Kidwai and senior military officials.

The Shaheen-I was first tested in 1999 and entered service with the army in 2003. The Ghaznavi, believed to be based on the Chinese M-11 missile, was first tested in 2003. PTI