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Pakistan Carries Out Third Ballistic Missile Test - 2002-05-28


Pakistan has carried out another ballistic missile test, despite international calls for restraint. The rocket launch came hours after British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived in Islamabad in an effort to defuse growing military tensions between India and Pakistan.

Officials in Pakistan say they have tested a newly developed surface-to-surface missile called "Hatf-II." A government statement said the missile is capable of carrying warheads up to 180 kilometers.

This was the third and last in a series of rocket launches Pakistan has carried out in recent days amid a tense military crisis with neighboring India.

On Saturday, Pakistan test-fired a medium range missile, which is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional weapons up to a range of 1500 kilometers.

Pakistani officials have said the missile tests are not linked to the standoff with India. Tensions have dramatically increased between the countries over the disputed region of Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan have stationed nearly a million troops along their border. Fears have risen that another strike by Muslim militants in Indian Kashmir could push India and Pakistan into another war.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is in the region as part of intense international efforts to avert a new conflict. He met President Pervez Musharraf to discuss the crisis before heading to India for similar talks.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Mr. Straw urged both countries to de-escalate tensions and settle their long-running dispute over Kashmir through talks.

"One thing that the whole international community is clear about is that there can be no resolution of the Kashmir dispute by war, by terrorism, by violent conflict. It can only be resolved by a process of negotiations, but negotiations can only take place in an environment that facilitates that," Mr. Straw said.

The British Foreign Secretary said that terror attacks carried out across the Line of Control dividing Kashmir must end.

Pakistani President Musharraf promised in a national speech on Monday that Pakistani territory will not be used for cross-border terrorism. He also said that there is no infiltration going on in Kashmir.

The divided region of Kashmir has caused two wars between India and Pakistan. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting Muslim militant who carry out cross border attacks against Indian facilities.

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