Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Pakistan: Ballistic Missile Hataf V (Ghauri) test fired

[The test was Pakistan's fourth of a nuclear-capable missile this year, as the neighbouring countries embark on a step-by-step peace process. The tests this year have been seen as more aimed at placating domestic fears that the nuclear proliferation scandal surrounding top nuclear scientist Abdul Qader Khan would lead to Pakistan dropping its nuclear program. The Hatf V (Ghauri), with a range of 1,500 kilometres (932 miles), was test-fired as part of a series of tests planned for the Ghauri missile system.]

Pakistan test-fires nuclear capable missile


ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday test-fired an intermediate-range nuclear-capable missile able to hit targets deep inside rival neighbour India, the military announced.

The test was Pakistan's fourth of a nuclear-capable missile this year, as the neighbouring countries embark on a step-by-step peace process. The tests this year have been seen as more aimed at placating domestic fears that the nuclear proliferation scandal surrounding top nuclear scientist Abdul Qader Khan would lead to Pakistan dropping its nuclear program.

'Pakistan this morning carried out another successful test of the indigenously produced intermediate range Ballistic Missile Hataf V (Ghauri),' a a military statement said.

The Hatf V (Ghauri), with a range of 1,500 kilometres (932 miles), was test-fired as 'part of a series of tests planned for the Ghauri missile system,' it said.

'The test completely validated all the design parametres,' the statement said, adding the Ghauri 'can carry nuclear and other warheads.'

Neighbouring states were notified beforehand, it added.

The Hatf V was tested twice this year, on May 29 and June 4. The Shaheen missile was tested on March 9.

The Ghauri, inducted into the Pakistani army last year after a series of tests, believed to be based on North Korea's Nodong missile.

Ex-premier Benazir Bhutto admitted in a Japanese newspaper interview in July that her government had obtained long-range missile technology from North Korea through her December 1993 visit.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, military top brass and scientists witnessed the test at an undisclosed location, the statement said.

President Pervez Musharraf in July foreshadowed an ?extremely important substantive? missile test in the following months, as he responded to speculation that Pakistan might roll-back its nuclear and missile programs under pressure from Washington over the proliferation scandal, and under peace moves with India.

'This would be a great test,' he told journalists at the time.

AFP12/10/2004