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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 13:09 GMT
Pakistan tests ballistic missile
Ghaznavi missile
The Ghaznavi missile was tested at an undisclosed location
Pakistan has successfully test-fired a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the Pakistani military has said.

The Hatf III (Ghaznavi) is the third ballistic missile to have been test-fired by Pakistan in three weeks.

The missile has a range of 290km (181 miles).

Pakistan and rival India have been regularly testing missiles since 1998, when both countries carried out nuclear detonations in close succession.

Pakistan, a US ally, has not officially commented on a US law, approved this week, to help India with its civilian nuclear programme.

Critics of the law said the nuclear deal between Washington and New Delhi could trigger an arms race in South Asia.

Commenting on the latest missile test, Pakistan's Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, said his country could be "justifiably proud of its defence capability and the reliability of its nuclear deterrence".

The country also recently tested its medium-range Ghauri and Shaheen-1 missiles.

India and Pakistan announced last month they would prepare a deal to limit the risk of an inadvertent nuclear conflict.

Tension between Pakistan and India - also a nuclear power - has decreased in recent months.

The two sides met in the Indian capital, Delhi, in November - the first talks between the South Asian neighbours since July's train bombings in Mumbai (Bombay).

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