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'Pak has no aggressive designs against anyone'

Written by: Staff

Islamabad, Mar 23: Pakistan today showcased its military might a day after test-firing the indigenously developed ground launched nuclear-capable cruise missile, ''Babur''.

However, President General Pervez Musharraf assured that ''Pakistan did not have aggressive designs against anyone''.

''We want to make our economy strong to meet diverse challenges,'' he said while addressing the joint services Pakistan day parade here.

Gen Musharraf, who witnessed the parade along with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the country's top military brass at the highly fortified Jinnah Sports Complex, said, ''today our economy is strong and we are moving on the path of development.'' He added that a vibrant economy would ensure poverty alleviation and the country's march on the road to progress and prosperity.

''Pakistan is about to complete the 60th year of its existence and we have to pledge today to make our country strong and prosperous,'' the President added.

The major attraction of today's parade was the display of Pakistani medium and long range missile systems including Ghauri, Ghaznavi, Shaheen and Babur and the two recently inducted JF-17 (Thunder) aircraft.

Pakistan yesterday test-fired Babur missile with an enhanced range of 700 kilometers. The missile, which was first tested in August 2005 for 500 kilometers, is a terrain hugging, radar avoiding highly maneuverable missile with pin point accuracy and is capable of carrying a variety of warheads including nuclear.

The country formally launched 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 had last month test-fired the nuclear-capable long range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf VI (Shaheen II), which has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

''Our armed forces and armament are not for aggressive purposes but a guarantee for peace,'' Gen Musharraf said in reference to the continued refinement of the country's nuclear and missile development programme as well as ongoing induction of new weaponry.

He said the development of JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft manufactured by Pakistan and China was a new addition in the Pakistan Air Force.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has so far inducted two JF-17s as part of a package involving delivery of eight planes.

Conceived in 1992, the JF-17 project was jointly undertaken and pursued by Pakistan and China until the first prototype carried out its maiden flight in August 2003.

The JF-17 Prototype 04 aircraft with fully integrated configuration made its successful maiden flight in Chengdu, China on May 10 last year taking the programme to a new height of success.

Known as the ''third generation aircraft'', JF-17 is basically a light-weight multi-role aircraft, which can fly at a speed of mach 1.6 with an operational ceiling of 55,000 feet.

It is equipped with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capability, a state-of-the-art avionics package to provide all-weather navigation, attack and jamming capability to track and destroy multiple targets.


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