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Pakistan Test-fires Nuke-capable Intermediate-range Ballistic Missile

4/25/2012 9:26 AM ET

Pakistan on Wednesday test-fired an upgraded intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile capable of hitting all the major northern and western cities of neighboring India, with which it fought three wars since their partition in 1947.

Reports quoting Pak military said 'Shaheen 1-A' was developed with improvements in range and technical capabilities than that of its predecessor, and is able to carry nuclear and conventional warheads.

According to a statement issued by the military, the missile tested on Wednesday landed in the Indian Ocean, and that it was successful, but did not reveal the exact range of the surface-to-surface missile.

Rhe 'Shaheen 1A' missile is an upgraded version of the 'Shaheen 1,' which is estimated to have a payload capacity of 1,000 kilograms and a range of 750 kilometers.

News agencies quoted defense experts as saying that intermediate range ballistic missiles are capable of hitting targets up to a distance of 2,500-3,000 kilometers - putting arch-rival India well within reach.

The latest Pakistani warhead is seen as an apparent reply to India's launch of its first nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) lass than a week ago.

India's Agni-V, a three-stage solid-fueled missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers, is capable of reaching deep into China and as far as Europe.

With the successful test-firing of Agni-V on last Thursday, India joined an elite club of nations possessing such long-range missile -- China, Russia, France, the U.S. and UK. Israel is thought to possess such a missile.

India has been attempting to enhance its military capabilities for deterring Pakistan and China from posing any threats to the country's security. It is currently the biggest arms importer among developing countries.

New Delhi has blamed Islamabad for backing Pak-based Islamist rebels and separatist militants who carry out deadly attacks in India, but Pakistan denies the allegation.

Both the countries are nuclear-armed.

by RTT Staff Writer

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