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Pakistan Announces Successful Missile Test

Pakistan says it has successfully conducted the first in a series of announced missile tests. It is the first such test since 1999 and comes amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, over Kashmir.

An official statement says Pakistan has test-fired its "indigenously" developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile, Ghuari, also known as Hatf-V. The missile has a range of 1,500 kilometers and is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Officials maintain the test, at an undisclosed site, was routine and is not linked to current border tensions with India.

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, hailed the missile test during a speech to Islamic scholars at a ceremony on Saturday. President Musharraf said the Ghauri missile reached its target with great accuracy and great success. He chanted "God is great" three times after the announcement.

Pakistan announced Friday it would conduct several missile tests, Saturday to Tuesday

Indian foreign ministry officials said they were not impressed by the Pakistani missile test, adding they believe it was intended for the domestic audience in Pakistan.

In his nationally-televised speech, President Musharraf said the missile launch was not meant to impress India but to strengthen Pakistan's defense.

President Musharraf says Pakistan does not want war with India, but it is not afraid of war. He says his country is fully prepared to counter any Indian attack, adding, there should no misunderstanding about that.

The president also referred to a report Friday in an Indian newspaper that India would give Pakistan two months to cut back on cross-border terrorism in Kashmir before taking any actions toward war. President Musharraf says he is not impressed by Indian deadlines. Officials in New Delhi deny setting the deadline reported by the Hindustan Times.

Pakistan and India are locked in a tense confrontation over Kashmir. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed region since 1947. U.S. and other world leaders say they fear the tensions could lead to nuclear conflict between the South Asian nations.

The United Sates has called the Pakistani announcement of missile tests disappointing. It has urged both India and Pakistan to take steps to defuse the border tensions.

India accuses Pakistan of sending armed militants across the border to attack India and fuel a Muslim insurgency in Indian Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge and says it is working to stamp out anti-India militants in Pakistan.

Officials in Islamabad say nearly two dozen civilians have died and scores have been injured during more than one week of clashes along the India/Pakistan border and the disputed border in Kashmir.