Islamabad, April 19 : Pakistan on Saturday successfully test fired its long-range and nuclear capable Hatf-VI ballistic missile, which has a range of 2000 km and can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads.
A statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) outfit described the event as the first missile test undertaken by the new civilian government, which was installed last month. Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani watched the surface-to-surface missile test and congratulated engineers and scientists for achieving an "important milestone" in Pakistan's quest for sustaining strategic balance in South Asia, the ISPR statement said. Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India routinely carry out missile tests despite a peace process they launched in early 2004. The South Asian neighbours, who conducted tit-for-tat nuclear weapons tests in 1998, which led to international sanctions, now inform each other of missile tests in advance.
The ISPR quoted Gilani as saying that Pakistan's missile and nuclear programme enjoyed complete national consensus and would continue to be consolidated and strengthened.
"He made it clear that Pakistan's strategy of credible minimum deterrence is fully in place and is a guarantee of peace in the region," the statement said.
Gilani also assured that the country's defence needs would remain a high priority with the elected government.