Islamabad: Pakistan's military spokesman has announced the successful test firing of the country's longest-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile. The test comes a mere two days after its representative signed a deal with India, aimed at cutting the risk of atomic weapons accidents.
Military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, informed internationl media that the Shaheen II, or Hatf VI, missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) had been successfully launched from an undisclosed location and that it was carried out to validate technical parameters. He also said that the missile hit the intended target with 100 percent accuracy.
Talking about the missile Sultan said that the Shaheen was a two-stage solid-fuel-based missile capable of carrying all types of warheads, including nuclear.
As per convention, Pakistan had informed "neighbouring countries" in advance about the missile test, foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said. She also said that the test was not intended to convey a message to anyone, as it was not country-specific.
The test comes at a time when relations between New Delhi and Islamabad are poised delicately following the bombing of a cross-border train on Sunday, which caused 68 casualties, most of them Pakistani citizens.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani citizens have existing family relationships across the border in India. They take the opportunity of any easing in tensions between the two countries to meet up with, or renew, acquaintances or relations in India.
The Shaheen-II by common reckoning is a copy of the Chinese M-18, originally displayed at the 1987 Beijing air show as a two-stage missile. The M-18 missile has the longest range of any of the Chinese M-series missiles. The early versions of the Shaheen, test-fired with much publicity by the Pakistanis in 1999 are copies, or outright purchases, of the Chinese M-11.