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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Pakistan accuses India over arms
Indian Prithvi missiles in a Republic Day parade
Both sides have carried out missile tests recently
The Pakistani Government has accused India of escalating the arms race in the region after reports from Delhi that India is planning to test-fire a new long-range nuclear-capable missile later this year.

"India is proliferating its missile program and it is better that the international community pay attention and prevent India from this relentless pursuit of more and more weapons," Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes was quoted as saying on Sunday that Delhi was developing a longer-range version of its nuclear-capable Agni missile and was keen to test-fire it this year.

Both countries test-fired short-range nuclear-capable missiles in March.

In 1998, the two countries carried out nuclear tests, drawing sanctions and criticism from around the world.

Tit for tat

Pakistan and India have carried out tit-for-tat missile tests several times in recent months and have also expelled several of each other's diplomats.

India is the proliferator in this region
Aziz Ahmed Khan
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman

The nuclear rivals have fought three wars since 1947 and came to the brink of conflict again last year.

India has not publicly stated the range of the new Agni III's missile. Analysts say it could be greater than 3,000 kilometres (1,800 miles).

The Agni II, could reach targets more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) away in Pakistan and China.

The Agni missiles are part of an arsenal that includes the Trishul surface-to-air missile and the Prithvi missile, with a range of 150 km and can carry a one-tonne nuclear payload.

Pakistan's Abdali surface-to-surface missile has a range of up to 200 km.




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