Pakistan test-fires Ghauri ballistic missile

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Islamabad, Feb 1: Pakistan today successfully test-fired nuclear-capable medium range Ghauri (Hatf-V), which can hit its target as far away as 1,300 kilometers.

''A Strategic Missile Group (SMG) of Pakistan Army's Strategic Force Command (ASFC) conducted a successful training launch of Ghauri Missile (IRBM),'' the military said in a statement. The launch was conducted at the conclusion of annual field training exercises of a Ghauri Missile Group. Pakistan had last Friday test-fired Shaheen-1 (Hatf-IV) missile with a range of 700 kilometers at the end of the annual field training exercises of a Shaheen-1 Missile Group.

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The field launch exercise of the ASFC was witnessed by President Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, senior military officers and scientists. The President congratulated them on achieving high standards of training and excellent results.

He said the nation had developed a strong nuclear deterrence capability and hoped that officers and men entrusted with the task of deterring aggression would continue to train hard and maintain professional excellence.

''Pakistan Armed Forces are a highly professional, motivated and well trained force and are capable of safeguarding Pakistan's security against all types of threat,'' he said.

''We have taken note of various imaginary scenarios being propounded by those who do not wish Pakistan well,'' he added, referring to concerns expressed by western countries about safety of Pakistani nuclear and missile assets.

Such elements have never reconciled to a nuclear Pakistan, which is capable of thwarting all threats to its sovereignty and to the nuclear capability, he said.

Pakistan formally kicked off its medium-range missile programme in April 1998, with the first successful test flight of Ghauri I missile followed by similar tests the next years involving the nuclear capable Ghauri, Shaheen, Ghaznavi and Abdali missile systems.

HATF-3 (Ghaznavi), HATF-5 (Ghauri), HATF-4 (Shaheen-1) have already been handed over to Pakistan Army's Strategic Force Command.

Pakistan's inventory of missiles also include long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf VI (Shaheen II), which has a range of 2,000 kilometers.


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