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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 October, 2003, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Pakistan carries out new missile test
Pakistan-made Hatf series missiles
Missile tests are often used to score diplomatic points

Pakistan has carried out its second test in a week of a missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

The test took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but the military refused to say where it was fired.

The Hatf-4, also known as the Shaheen 1, has a range of 700 kilometres (435 miles), meaning it could reach almost all targets in neighbouring India.

On Friday, Pakistan tested a short-range Hatf-III Ghaznavi missile that rival India dismissed as nothing new.

The tests are the first by Pakistan since peace moves began with rival India six months ago.

"We have successfully test fired the Shaheen 1," said military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan. "It can carry all kinds of warheads."

A military statement said Pakistan had notified neighbouring countries, including India, ahead of the test in what it called "a spirit of confidence building."

"The test is part of the ongoing series of tests of Pakistan's indigenous missile systems," it said.

"All technical parameters required to be tested were successfully validated."

In 1998, Pakistan and India conducted a series of tit-for-tat tests on nuclear weapons, leading to sanctions by the international community.

Wednesday's test was Pakistan's third this year, and India has also carried out several missile tests in 2003.

Kashmir

The tests come amid a cooling of ties between the two nuclear neighbours following a bitter exchange at the UN General Assembly last month.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee described the rhetoric as a setback to the peace process.

Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf accused India of refusing dialogue in Kashmir, calling it the world's most dangerous dispute.

Mr Vajpayee responded by accusing Pakistan of using terrorsim as "a tool of blackmail".

India says Pakistan backs separatist violence in the disputed state but Islamabad denies the charge.

Both sides have fought two wars over Kashmir and came close to a similar conflict last year.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the disputed region of Kashmir and came close to a major conflict centred around the territory last year.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Paul Anderson
"The army says it test fired a medium range ballistic missile"



SEE ALSO:
Pakistan tests short-range missile
03 Oct 03  |  South Asia


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