Pakistan launches longest-range nuclear-capable missile

Pakistan says missile capable of delivering warhead anywhere in India.

pakistani commandos (photo credit: ap)
pakistani commandos
(photo credit: ap)
Pakistan's military said a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead anywhere in India is ready for wartime use after troops successfully launched it Monday for the first time during a field exercise. The launch "validated the operational readiness of a strategic missile group equipped with the Shaheen II missile," the military said. The Shaheen II, also known as the Hatf VI, has previously been test-fired a number of times by scientists and engineers. The army says the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), the longest of several missiles in Pakistan's nuclear-capable arsenal. That is enough to hit targets anywhere in archrival India, as well as in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Navy Chief Adm. Muhammad Afzal Tahir congratulated those responsible for the exercise on the "successful launch and the accuracy of the missile at the target," the military said in a statement. Tahir said Pakistan could be proud of the "reliability of its nuclear deterrence" and that the country would further enhance its nuclear capability. Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998 by conducting nuclear tests in response to those carried out by India. The South Asian neighbors have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. However, their relations have improved since 2004, when they began a peace process aimed at resolving their core dispute over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim. Both countries routinely test missiles.