Monday, May 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak test-fires another missile
K.J.M. Varma

Islamabad, May 26
Ignoring strong reaction from the international community led by the USA and Russia, Pakistan today went ahead with its missile programme, test-firing its second missile in as many days.

The missile tested today was a newly-developed short range Hatf-III, also known was Ghaznavi, that could carry nuclear warheads up to 290 km, an official statement here said.

Defence officials said Pakistan “successfully” tested its indigenous surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf-III as a part of missile tests currently under way.

“This was the first test of the Ghaznavi missile,” the statement said.

As world leaders struggled to pull India and Pakistan back from the brink of war, Pakistan yesterday testfired surface-to-surface Hatf-V (Ghauri), a medium range missile that could carry nuclear warheads up to 1500 km, targeting major parts of India.

After the Ghauri launch, the USA said it was “disappointed” at Pakistan’s decision to carry out the tests, while Russia voiced “regrets that the tests are being conducted in the conditions of the conflict”.

Diplomatic efforts to persuade Pakistan to initiate steps to ease tensions with India were also made by French President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien and South African leader Nelson Mandela. Voicing similar sentiments, Japan said, “We regret the missile test, which could intensify missile development in South Asia and deteriorate relations between India and Pakistan.”

The timing of the missile tests, which were apparently aimed at bolstering the image of the Musharraf government, was severely criticised by the international community.

Pakistan has already announced that it would carry out a number of missile tests between May 25 and 28. Pakistan’s missile system consists of three components, namely short range Hatf, medium and long range Shaheen and Ghauri missiles.

The USA and Russia led the international community in condemning Pakistan’s testfiring of the Ghauri missile, saying that this would further aggravate its military tension with India.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the USA was “disappointed” at Pakistan’s decision to carry out the test launch of the surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a strongly worded statement condemning the missile launch and said Islamabad must move “from words to deeds” in demonstrating its genuine desire for a political dialogue with India.

Canada also expressed regret over the testfiring at a time of high tension with India.

Diplomatic efforts to persuade Pakistan to initiate steps to ease tensions with India were also made by French President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien and South African leader Nelson Mandela.

The three leaders telephoned Pakistan President Musharraf, holding lengthy talks on the situation along the Indo-Pak border, media reports here said today. During his conversations with them, Mr Musharraf held India responsible for escalating tension along the borders, official APP news agency reported.

Pakistan was compelled to take steps in self-defence, Mr Musharraf told the three leaders, adding that Pakistan had to act to meet any threat from India.

Mr Musharraf assured the leaders that Pakistan would continue to work for peace. PTI


Pak flaunting missiles: India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26
India today wryly remarked that Pakistan was not testing its missiles, but rather flaunting those that were not its own.

Reacting to the so-called “testfiring” of the Hatf-III (Ghaznavi) surface-to-surface short-range missile by Pakistan today, a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs said the technology used in these missiles was not Pakistan’s but clandestinely acquired from other countries.

The spokesperson said this fact had been unearthed by India and documented in research findings by well-established research institutions and laboratories all over the world.

“Pakistan is not testing its missiles. Rather, it is flaunting them and, by doing so, it is catering to the domestic audience and constituencies in Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.


Straw to visit India

London, May 26
A day after visiting Islamabad, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will arrive in New Delhi on Wednesday in an effort to bring the two countries to the negotiating table. Straw will arrive in Islamabad tomorrow for talks. The next day he will arrive in New Delhi to hold talks with Indian leaders. PTI

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