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Pakistan Test-Fires First Ground-Launched Cruise Missile

Pakistan's military ruler President Pervez Musharraf said the test was a "major milestone" in the country's nuclear programme, the statement said.

Islamabad (AFP) Aug 11, 2005
Pakistan successfully test-fired Thursday its first ever ground-launched cruise missile, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the military said.

The launch of the Hatf VII Babur comes days after Pakistan and rival India, seeking to prevent an accidental atomic exchange, agreed to notify each other before missile tests and to set up a hotline on nuclear matters by September.

India and Pakistan do normally notify each other of such tests.

The military said that with the latest test, Pakistan had "joined a select group of countries which have the capability to design and develop cruise missiles".

The terrain-hugging missile could reach targets up to 500 kilometres (310 miles) away, the military said in a statement.

Pakistan's military ruler President Pervez Musharraf said the test was a "major milestone" in the country's nuclear programme, the statement said.

The scientists and technicians involved had "again done the nation proud by mastering a rare technology", he said.

India and Pakistan conducted tit-for-tat test nuclear detonations in 1998 and came to the brink of war in 2002. The historical rivals, who have already fought three wars, routinely carry out tests of nuclear-capable missiles.

On Saturday they signed a long-awaited deal for the nuclear hotline and formalising the pre-notification of missile tests.

Pakistan is at the centre of investigations into a nuclear black market run by its disgraced scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who confessed in 2004 to passing atomic secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

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Britain Lifts Nuke Sanctions On India
New Delhi (UPI) Aug 11, 2005
Britain has lifted nuclear sanctions on India, becoming the first country to respond positively to an India-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement signed last month.

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