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Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile

This military handout picture dated, 23 February 2007, shows the Pakistani senior military and others officials stand infront of the long range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Shaheen II, or Hatf VI, missile prior to its test fire at an undisclosed location in Pakistan. Pakistan test-fired its longest range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, two days after signing a deal with rival India to cut the risk of atomic weapons accidents, the military said. The Shaheen II, or Hatf VI, missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) was launched from an undisclosed location. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) March 22, 2007
Pakistan on Thursday successfully test fired a longer range version of its nuclear-capable, radar-dodging cruise missile, the military said.

The Hatf VII Babur missile has a range of 700 kilometres (435 miles) and can carry all kinds of warheads including nuclear, it said in a statement. The missile's previous range was 500 kilometres.

"The test was successful and technical parameters were set," Pakistan military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told AFP.

The statement said the "Babur... is a terrain-hugging, radar-avoiding cruise missile, whose range has now been enhanced to 700 kilometres. It is a highly manoeuvrable missile with pinpoint accuracy."

The test was witnessed by the chairman of Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Ehsan ul Haq, as well as senior military officials and scientists, the statement said.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have congratulated the scientists and engineers on this "very important success," it added.

"The test is part of Pakistan's ongoing efforts at consolidating its strategic capability and strengthening national security," the statement said.

The indigenously-developed cruise missile was first tested in 2005, surprising the world, and again in March last year.

Pakistan did not say if it had informed nuclear-armed rival India about the test in advance. They have an agreement to notify each other about tests of ballistic missiles but not cruise missiles.

In February Pakistan signed a historic deal with India to cut the risk of atomic weapons accidents.

The neighbours have routinely conducted missile tests since carrying out tit-for-tat nuclear detonations in May 1998.

However in 2004 they launched a slow-moving peace process aimed at ending six decades of hostility and resolving their dispute over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, the cause of two of their three wars.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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