Pak tests nuclear-capable Hatf-III ballistic missile

Islamabad: Pakistan today successfully test fired nuclear-capable Hatf-III ballistic missile with a range of 290 km that could hit targets in India.

As the test was conducted, a top Pakistani military official said the country had developed a "strong nuclear deterrence capability" and was fully capable of thwarting any aggression

A statement issued by the military described the "training launch" of the short-range Hatf III or Ghaznavi missile as successful. "The launch was conducted at the conclusion of the annual field training exercise of the Army Strategic Force Command," the statement said.

The military did not say where the exercise was conducted. It said the missile could carry nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 290 km. The training exercise was aimed at "testing the operational readiness of a Strategic Missile Group," the statement said.

Addressing troops in the exercise area, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne said the country had "developed a strong nuclear deterrence capability." He said: "Pakistan`s Armed Forces are fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan`s security against aggression."

Wynne said he expected the officers and men "entrusted with the task of deterring aggression would continue to train hard and maintain professional excellence." He commended the troops for a "high standard of proficiency in handling and operating the state of the art weapon system."

Besides Wynne, the field training exercise was witnessed by Strategic Plans Division Director General Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Army Strategic Force Command chief Lt Gen Tariq Nadeem Gilani, Karachi Corps Commander Lt Gen Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, other senior military officials and scientists. The successful test was appreciated by the President and Prime Minister, who congratulated the troops, scientists and engineers.