More reports on: Defence general

India's interceptor missile test jangles Pak nerves

20 May 2016

Pakistan is "seriously concerned" by India's recent test of anti-ballistic missiles which media reports say could intercept incoming nuclear weapons, a senior foreign ministry official said on Thursday, warning that Pakistan would upgrade its defences.

India last Sunday announced that it had successfully test-fired an indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile, from its test range off the Odisha coast. This was followed by a test-firing on Wednesday of its nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile. (See: India successfully tests indigenous interceptor missile). Both India and Pakistan have been developing missiles of varying ranges since they conducted nuclear tests in May 1998.

Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan's prime minister, told the senate that India's latest test, as well as recent tests of nuclear capable submarine-based ballistic missiles, was "leading to nuclearisation" of the Indian Ocean.

"Pakistan has serious concerns over these developments and will take all necessary measures to augment its defence capabilities," Aziz said.

Pakistan alleges India is building large nuclear-powered submarines capable of carrying nuclear-armed missiles.

Aziz said that India's actions were upsetting the strategic balance in South Asia and affecting the maritime security of other Indian Ocean nations.

"We are not oblivious to our defence needs and will have to upgrade our defensive capabilities through suitable technologies without entering into an arms race," Aziz said, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Indian officials have in the past also voiced concerns about Pakistan's various missile tests.

US President Barack Obama in October urged Pakistan to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons programme that could increase risks and instability.

Washington has been concerned about Pakistan's development of new nuclear weapons systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, and has been trying to persuade Pakistan to make a unilateral declaration of "restraint."

But Pakistani officials have said Islamabad will not accept limits to its weapons programme and argue that smaller tactical nuclear weapons are needed to deter a sudden attack by India.

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