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Pakistan Tests Nuclear-Capable Missile

According to Reuters, Pakistan test-fired an intermediate-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Tuesday as part of efforts to boost its defenses, but the test was not a show of strength for rival India, the military said. The test came at the start of two days of talks between Pakistani and Indian border officials in the Indian city of Chandigarh, their second meeting this year since regular contacts were revived to discuss frontier issues.

The missile was a Hatf V, a type of Ghauri missile with a range of 940 miles — capable of hitting most Indian cities and which can carry a payload of 1,985 lb.

Reuters added that Pakistan tested its first nuclear bomb in May 1998 and says its weapons program is a response to that of India. In March, Pakistan test-fired the Shaheen II ballistic missile with a range of 1,250 miles and capable of carrying nuclear warheads to every corner of India. The Pakistani Hatf series of missiles, named after an ancient Islamic weapon, includes the Shaheen and Ghauri missiles.

Reuters further reported that the Ghauri was formally inducted into the military in January 2003. It was developed by Khan Research Laboratories, Pakistan’s main uranium-enrichment facility, which was named after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the country’s atomic bomb. Khan was sacked this year from his job as a special government adviser after he admitted to exporting nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. According to Reuters, some experts say the Ghauri missile was developed with North Korean help in return for nuclear know-how (probably related to Pakistan’s expertise in uranium enrichment), but Pakistan denies the link and says it is indigenously produced.

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