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Pakistan Tests New Missile

Pakistan has successfully test-fired an intermediate-range missile that is capable of reaching all of neighboring India's major cities. The missile is also capable of carrying nuclear payloads.

Pakistani state media says the two-stage Shaheen-Two missile was successfully tested on Tuesday, and has a range of more than two-thousand kilometers.

In an interview with local television, top Pakistani missile researcher Samar Mubarikmand says the Shaheen-II actually has a range of 2,500 kilometers but was tested at two thousand, in order to keep the test target within Pakistani national waters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan announced the planned test on Monday. He said India had been informed. There was no immediate response from New Delhi.

Mr. Khan said weapons delivery systems like the Shaheen-II are vital to maintain Pakistan's credible deterrence. "That's why we have to test these missiles from time to time," he says. "Our reach has to be assured, and we have to be in a position to deter aggression and to prevent military coercion."

India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed nations, are longtime rivals, and have fought three major wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

But a recent thaw in relations has led the two sides to resume long-stalled peace negotiations. A meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers is scheduled for August.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.