Wednesday, May 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak test-fires 3rd missile

Islamabad, May 28
Defying international call for restraint, Pakistan today test fired its third nuclear-capable ballistic missile shortly after British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived here to hold talks on defusing tension with India.

Pakistan conducted a successful test-launch of the short range Abdali missile — the third and final test in a series that began on Friday, state-run “Pakistan Television” reported today.

The missile, which has a range of 180-km coincided with Pakistan’s fourth anniversary of its nuclear tests at Chagai in Baluchistan province in response to Pokhran explosions carried out by India.

Pakistan on Saturday test-fired a nuclear-capable medium-range Hatf-V (Ghauri) having a range of 1500 km and on Sunday a newly-developed short-range Hatf-III (Ghaznavi) capable of carrying warheads up to 290 km “with great accuracy”.

Pakistan launched Abdali missile as Mr Jack Straw landed here as part of an international efforts to ease tension between India and Pakistan.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Safanov is also here to push forward President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a face-to-face meeting between Indian and Pakistani leaders during a regional conference in Kazakhstan’s Capital, Almaty, early next month.

President Pervez Musharraf in a nationally televised speech last night said the danger of war with India was not yet over and urged the international community to persuade New Delhi to de-escalate and resume Indo-Pak dialogue.

Pakistani Defence officials here said that Islamabad had test-fired a third ballistic missile as part of a series of missile tests.

“Pakistan carried out a successful test-fire of its short-range indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile Hatf-II (Abdali)” an official announcement here said, adding, “this was the first test of the Abdali missile”.

“This system is capable of carrying warheads accurately up to a range of 180 km. The flight data collected confirmed its accuracy and all other design parameters which were successfully validated,” it said.

President Musharraf has congratulated the team of those associated with the development of Hatf-II Abdali on their “outstanding” success.

The successful test-fire of Abdali concludes for now the series of tests conducted over the past few days, the announcement said.

According to “Jane’s Defence” manual, Pakistan’s Hatf-II is closely related to Chinese M-11, while Hatf-III, which was fired three days ago resembled, Chinese M-9 missiles.

Hatf-III, called Ghaznavi, test-fired on May 26 for first time logged around 290 km. Both are capable of carrying conventional and nuclear war heads.

The Ghauri medium-range surface-to-surface missile test-fired on May 25, according to “Jane’s” strongly resembled the North Korean missile, Nodong.

Pakistan Officials claimed that it could carry a 700-kg conventional or nuclear war head up to 1600 km to hit deeper into Indian territory. PTI

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