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Pakistan test fires nuclear cruise missile

August 11, 2005 12:21 IST

Pakistan on Thursday test-fired its first ever ground-launched nuclear capable cruise missile Hatf VII Babur, which could reach targets upto 500 km.

The military said that with the 'successful test, Pakistan has joined a select group of countries which have the capability to design and develop cruise missile'.

The 'terrain hugging missile' has the most advanced and modern navigation and guidance system and a high degree of
manoeuvrability, a defence statement said, which did not mention the time or the location of the test.

The missile is believed to be a match for India's Brahmos missile, which has been developed in cooperation with Russia.

Pakistan did not inform India about the test as an agreement reached between the two countries over the weekend
on pre-notification of missile tests does not cover cruise missiles.

"The agreement on pre-notification of ballistic missiles, which has been finalised but not yet signed in New Delhi, does not cover pre-notification of cruise missile tests," a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying in the media.

The military said the technology used in the missile enables it to avoid radar detection and penetrate un-detected
through any hostile defensive systems.

"All design parameters for the flight were validated," the statement said, adding that Babur Cruise Missile has the capability to carry nuclear and conventional warheads upto a range of 500 km.

It also said that the missile was indigenously developed. "It is designed and developed by an elite team of scientists and engineers of Pakistan's Strategic Organisations," the statement said.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said the test was a 'major milestone' in the country's nuclear programme.

"Our scientists and engineers have once again done the nation proud by mustering a rare technology," he said.

Without naming India, he said the test would reflect the country's resolve to meet emerging challenges and geo-strategic developments in its neighbourhood. 

Pakistan has so far test-fired a range of small, medium and long range ballistic missiles with a range upto 1500-2000 km, but this is for the first time that it has test-fired a cruise missile.

It is believed to be a match to India's Brahmos missile. However, the Pakistan missile does not have a supersonic range like Brahmos.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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