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Pakistan Tests New Medium Range Missile


Pakistan says it has successfully test fired a new medium-range surface-to-surface missile of the Hataf series. India's response to the news was mild, with New Delhi saying that the test appeared to be intended to influence Pakistan's general election next week.

A Defense Ministry statement identifies the missile as Hataf-4, also known as Shaheen-I. It says neighboring and friendly countries were informed about the test before it took place.

Military officials say the rocket has an estimated range of 750-kilometers, and can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan played down fears that Friday's test will worsen tensions between India and Pakistan. "No we don't think so because this is a technical test and there is nothing because of which tensions should increase. Every country which is developing this technology conducts tests periodically to test the technical aspects of it, and we have informed India before hand," he said.

Pakistan has been developing nuclear weapons and missiles in competition with its next-door rival, India. The two South Asian nations are locked in a military stand off over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The international community has repeatedly urged India and Pakistan to ease border tensions and settle the Kashmir dispute through talks.

The two countries have fought three wars in the past 55-years. Their nuclear tests in 1998 have raised concerns another conflict could lead to a nuclear exchange. Leaders in both India and Pakistan have ruled out any such possibility.