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Pak successfully test fires long-range nuclear-capable missile

Written by: Staff
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Islamabad, Apr 29 (UNI) Pakistan today successfully testfired its nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile Shaheen 11 or Hataf-VI, with a range of upto 2000 km that could be extended to 2,500 km in an advanced version a military spokesman said in a statement.

The test was carried out to validate additional technical parameters ''beyond those that were verified in the last test fire in March 2005,'' the spokesman said.

The up-graded Shaheen 11 is a two-stage solid fuel missile that can carry nuclear and conventional warheads with ''high accuracy''.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who witnessed the launching of the missile from an undisclosed location, congratulated the country's scientists and engineers of Pakistan's Strategic Organisation for the successful test.

Speaking after the test, he said Pakistan's strategy of credible minimum deterrence was fully in place and was a guarantee of peace in the region.

''The defence needs of the country will always remain a priority and the strategic programme which enjoys universal support within the country will go from strength to strength,'' the statement quoted Mr Aziz.

Without naming the recent Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, he said Pakistan was fully alive to the development in the region and would never accept discrimination of any kind.

A strong ally to the US, Pakistan is demanding similar treatment from Washington. The Bush administration has already ruled out such cooperation. The Indo-US civilian nuclear accord signed during President George W Bush's visit to India in March has to be ratified by the US Congress.

''We will continue to pursue vigorously our security and energy needs from all sources including nuclear,'' Mr Aziz said.

President Pervez Musharraf in a message congratulated the country's scientists and engineers for carrying out the latest test with outstanding success and said the nation was proud of them.

Pakistan conducted its first missile test of Ghauri-1 intermediate range missile in April 1998 and has so far conducted tests of surface-to-surface long range Shaheen-2 or Hataf-VI, medium range Shaeen-1 (Hatf-4), short-range surface-to-surface Hatf-3 or Ghaznavi and intermediate range ballistic missile Ghauri or Hatf-5.

Ghaznavi, Ghauri and Shaheen-1 have already been handed over to Pakistan Army's Strategic Force Command.

UNI XC SC HS1509

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