Pakistan’s military announced Friday it had successfully test-fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The missile has a range of 435 miles [about 700 kilometres] and is capable of targeting neighbouring India.
The Shaheen-1 or Hatf-IV missile was test-fired from an undisclosed location and was launched at the end of an annual field exercise by the Pakistani army’s Strategic Force Command.
The army’s public relations wing, the Inter Services Public Relations said that the missile, already in service with the military, is “routinely fired during training exercises.”
“The missile is of a tactical level, meaning it would only cover the battlefield during a war,” a senior defense and strategic analyst retired Brigadier Tariq Masood said.
“It is not of a strategic level, meaning that it cannot hit a target deep inside India. There is nothing significant about this test. These tactical missiles are tested as routine in military exercises,” Masood told AKI.
The test was witnessed by Pakistan’s new army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who took over when Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf gave up his title when he was re-elected president.
Kayani dismissed international concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of Islamic militants as Islamic militant violence in the country continues to intensify.
Kayani was quoted as saying the concerns were “unrealistic and based on a lack of understanding of Pakistan’s command and control mechanisms.”
He said Pakistani armed forces are highly professional and well-trained to safeguard and secure nuclear assets against all categories of threat.