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Wed, Nov 29, 2006

India, Pakistan Rachet Up Military Tensions

Nuclear Rivals Test Missiles, Defense Systems

Pakistan said Wednesday it has successfully test-fired a new variant of its nuclear-capable Hatf 4 (Shaheen-1) missile, two days after archrival India carried out its first successful test of a ballistic missile interception system.

Defense officials in Pakistan wouldn't give details where the missile firing occurred, but did state it hit its target. (A similar Shaheen-2 missile is shown above.)

"It was a successful test-launch," a Pakistani official told Reuters. "The missile has already been tested before. It is nuclear capable."

Wednesday's firing was the second missile test carried out by Pakistan in the past two weeks. On November 16, the nation test-fired an intermediate-range Hatf-5 (dubbed "Ghauri") ballistic missile. That missile has a range of about 800 miles -- 300 miles more than the Hatf 4.

On Monday, India completed a successful test of a working ballistic missile shield. Using a medium-range Prithvi II missile launched from India's Wheeler Island test center, the system knocked out another Prithvi II -- simulating the "adversary's missile" -- launched from the Chandipore missile range.

If future interception tests prove equally successful, India would join the United States as the only two nations that have demonstrated viable missile shields. As Aero-News reported, the US military conducted a successful interception of a test drone by an interceptor missile on September 1.

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org

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