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Pakistan Tests Second Missile - 2002-05-26


Pakistan has carried out a second missile test as part of the series of rocket launches currently under way.

Pakistan says it has successfully test-fired a newly-developed surface-to-surface missile called the Hatf-3, or Ghaznavi. An official statement says the rocket has a range of up to 290 kilometers and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

On Saturday, Pakistan tested a medium-range Ghauri missile that can carry nuclear weapons and has a range of up to 1500 kilometers.

The rocket launches come as both India and Pakistan are locked in a tense confrontation over Kashmir.

United States and other world leaders have asked Pakistan to abandon the tests, saying they could aggravate already dangerous conditions in the region.

Officials in Pakistan say the missile tests are not linked to the current situation.

India has played down the tests, saying they are intended for the domestic audience in Pakistan.

Both countries have deployed an unusually large number of troops along their disputed border in Kashmir. Dozens of civilians and soldiers have died on both sides during recent cross-border clashes, including artillery duels and exchanges of small arms fire.

The international community has been struggling to move India and Pakistan away from the brink of a fourth war. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani Presiden Pevez Musharraf to join him at a summit in Kazakhstan next month, to work on reducing the tensions.

The current military stand-off began in December when India blamed Pakistan for an attack on its parliament. The tensions escalated last month when Pakistan-backed Muslim militants killed more than 30 people in Indian Kashmir.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of fueling an armed insurgency in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the allegations, saying it has taken steps to prevent cross-border incursions.

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