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Pakistan tests second missile

Vajpayee: Limit to India's patience

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan has carried out a second short-range missile test in as many days, an action India called an attempt to cater to the "whims and demands of Pakistan's domestic audience."

The test on Sunday of what Islamabad called an "indigenously designed" short-range missile is the second in a series of missile tests amid persistent tension between India and Pakistan.

Unimpressed by the action, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said the missile test will have no effect on the current situation between the two nuclear foes.

Rao said it is an act of catering to the "whims and demands of Pakistan's domestic audience."

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has so far avoided commenting on the missile tests, but did speak on the issue of cross border militant attacks in India -- the key focus behind the tense military standoff between the South Asian neighbors.

"The world community should understand that there is a limit to India's patience," Vajpayee said in a speech carried live on national television on Sunday.

"How can we tolerate terrorist activities in our country and for how long?" he asked. India told an EU delegation last week that it would delay any military action against Pakistan for two weeks.

Vajpayee's counterpart, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, plans to address his nation Monday evening on the tensions with India, CNN has learned. The speech was to be delivered Sunday, but was postponed for a day. (Full story)

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CNN's Tom Mintier reports on the reaction of world leaders to Pakistan missile tests over the weekend. (May 26)

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Sunday's missile test, described as successful by Islamabad, involved a short-range surface-to-surface Hatf-3 (Ghaznavi) missile launched between 8 and 8:30 a.m. local time (0200 to 0230 GMT).

The missile, with a range of 290 km (180 miles) is believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. State-run media reported that it was the first test of the Ghaznavi missile system.

A statement from the Pakistani government praised the people who developed the missile.

The launch of "the indigenously developed Ghaznavi is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and professional excellence of Pakistani scientists and engineers. Musharraf congratulated the team of officers and men on their outstanding success," the statement said.

But Rao accused Pakistan of having acquired the missile fired today "clandestinely." It is widely believed in India that Pakistan got the short-range missile from North Korea or China.

Sunday's test follows the test-firing on Saturday of a medium range Ghauri ballistic missile, which was hailed as a success by Musharraf.

The Ghauri, with a range of 1600 km (1000 miles) is capable of striking major Indian cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai and can deliver a maximum payload of about 1000 kilograms.

Bush urges restraint

The tests occur amid fears of war between the two nuclear neighbors and efforts by world leaders to end the military standoff.

Hundreds of thousands of troops are massed along the Indian-Pakistani border and on Kashmir's Line of Control -- a confrontation sparked by militant attacks in India, which New Delhi blames on Pakistan-based rebels.

Pakistan did notify India and other countries on Friday that it would carry out a range of missile tests, scheduled to end on Tuesday, and that they were unrelated to the Kashmir dispute.

But the tests have been widely described as ill-timed and non-conducive to reducing tensions on the subcontinent.

U.S. President George W. Bush -- answering questions for reporters on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Russia -- said the United States wants "restraint" between the countries and hopes that the missile tests are not viewed as a "provocation."

Bush said that "we're continuing to work the diplomatic channels as are other nations."

"Anytime you have countries with nuclear arms ... serious tension is dangerous."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the missile testing only aggravates the situation. Putin added that he would invite the leaders of India and Pakistan to Kazakhstan for talks next month to try to cool down the conflict.

Kashmir dispute

Pakistan and India have been at odds over the Himalayan flashpoint for more than five decades, and have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.

The situation escalated recently when terrorists attacked an army camp in India, killing more than 30 people.

Since then, troops have skirmished daily across the Line of Control.

On Sunday, Pakistani and Indian troops traded heavy fire Sunday in the Bhimbher district in the Pakistan-administered section of Kashmir, officials said.

-- CNN Correspondent Tom Mintier and Producer Suhasini Haidar contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 






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