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Pakistan Successfully Test Fires Upgraded Missile

Pakistan's Shaheen-1 missile (File 2008)
Pakistan's Shaheen-1 missile (File 2008)

Pakistan's military said it successfully test-fired an upgraded Shaheen-1 missile Wednesday.  The Shaheen-1 is capable of hitting targets in India with a nuclear weapon, and this upgraded version is thought to have an even longer reach.

The missile test comes less than a week after India claimed it successfully test-fired a new missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as far as Beijing.  Indian officials said that test launch showed it had joined the ranks of the world's missile powers.

India's Agni-V has a range of 5,000 kilometers and had been described as a "quantum leap" in India's strategic capability - able to carry nuclear warheads as far as the Chinese capital as well as Shanghai.  

China's communist party newspaper, the Global Times, responded to India's test launch with a warning of its own, saying for the foreseeable future "India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China".

Indian defense analyst Kapil Kak said New Delhi appears increasingly worried about cooperation between China and Pakistan in possibly "targeting India, in which case India will well have to be prepared for a two-front war.''

The country has been testing its ballistic missile defense system since 2006. If it becomes viable, India would become one of the few nations with a working missile shield.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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