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Both countries have developed long-range missiles capable of striking the other's cities
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arrow The nuclear stakes
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Nuclear rivalry
Summary
Fears of a nuclear confrontation grew, after both sides conducted nuclear tests. The US ordered sanctions against both countries, with several European nations doing the same. Tensions were reduced early the following year after the two sides signed an accord pledging to intensify efforts to resolve all issues including that of Jammu and Kashmir.
In full
The arms race between the rivals escalated dramatically in the 1990s.

In May 1998, India conducted underground nuclear tests in the western desert state of Rajasthan near the border with Pakistan. In response, Pakistan conducted six tests in Baluchistan.

In the same year, Pakistan tested its longest range missile, the 1,500 km (932 mile) Ghauri missile, named after a 12th Century Muslim warrior who conquered part of India.

Both sides were heavily criticised by the international community for the tests as fears of a nuclear confrontation grew.

The United States ordered sanctions against both countries, freezing more than $20bn of aid, loans and trade. Japan ordered a block on about $1bn of aid loans.

Several European countries followed suit, and the G-8 governments imposed a ban on non-humanitarian loans to India and Pakistan.

The UN Security Council condemned India and Pakistan for carrying out nuclear tests and urged the two nations to stop all nuclear weapons programmes.

Relations between India and Pakistan improved again in February 1999 when Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee travelled to Pakistan to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

They signed the Lahore accord pledging again to "intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir".

India had detonated its first nuclear device in1974. In 1989, Pakistan announced the successful test firing of its first long-range surface-to-surface missile, the Hatf-1 and Hatf-2.

In 1992 Pakistan said it had acquired the scientific know-how to make a nuclear bomb.



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