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U.S. Calls For 'Restraint' In Responding To Pak Missile Test

The United States has urged all nuclear-capable countries to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capabilities.

When Pakistan's test-firing of an upgraded intermediate-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile on Wednesday was brought to her notice during a State Department routine press conference, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said "obviously" she has "the same message (to Islamabad) that we gave at the time of the Indian test."

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

Responding to the question, "as part of the deepening of the relationship, did Pakistan inform the U.S. that it was going to conduct this missile test in the last 24 hours,?" Nuland replied: "I assume we had some, because I do know that they did have contact with the Indian Government before they proceeded with this."

"We understand that this was a planned launch. The Pakistanis have said it wasn't a direct response to the Indian test. But what's most important is that they do seem to have taken steps to inform the Indians, and we, as you know, are quite intent on those two countries continuing to work together and improve their dialogue," she told reporters.

Pakistan's Shaheen 1-A missile, developed with improvements in range and technical capabilities than that of its predecessor, is capable of hitting all the major northern and western cities of neighboring arch-rival India.

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 last week, India joined an elite club of nations possessing such long-range missiles -- 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 its security. India 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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