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Pakistan Denies Missile Test is Provocation Against India - 2003-10-14

Pakistan says it conducted the last in a series of three ballistic-missile tests Tuesday, in an effort to beef up its arsenal. The Pakistani military rejects outside claims of an arms race with rival India.

The Pakistan military says the test-firing of the medium-range Shaheen 1 missile is not meant as a provocative move against India.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations have been strained since 1947 when they gained independence from Britain. They have fought several wars over the mountain region of Kashmir.

Their relations have been on the mend in past months with the restoration of diplomatic ties.

But India recently angered Pakistan by signing a deal to acquire advanced radar aircraft from Israel, giving its military early-warning system an edge over Pakistan.

Top Pakistani military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan said that despite India's deal with Israel, Pakistan's missile tests have nothing to do with simmering tensions with India.

"These tests do not have any specific reasons beyond military purposes," said Gen. Sultan. These tests have been done only to validate the design parameters, which are purely technical reasons. There is no message to be sent across, and these are not in any [way a] tit-for-tat response.'

Tuesday's firing concludes Pakistan's current ballistic-missile tests, begun on October 3. General Sultan says no date has been set for future test-firings.