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Pakistan tests long-range missile


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File picture of a Shaheen 1 missile.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's defense ministry says it has conducted its first test of a new long-range nuclear-capable missile.

"Pakistan today successfully carried out the maiden test fire of Hatf VI (Shaheen II), long-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile," a military statement said on Tuesday.

Last October, Pakistan's military test-fired the medium range Hatf-4 missile, also known as the Shaheen I.

In each case, the planned missile launches were announced in advance.

At the time, Islamabad said the Haft-4 missile was capable of reaching targets up to 700 kilometers (435 miles) away, meaning it could hit most major targets in neighboring India.

The Pakistan military said the new missle had a range of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles).

In March of 2003, Pakistan and India conducted a series of missile tests, raising fears of a heightened arms race between the two South Asian rivals.

But since then tensions have eased between the nuclear neighbors.

Since achieving independence from Britain in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In mid-2002 the two countries stood on the brink of a fourth war amid tensions over what India said was Pakistani support for Islamic militants carrying out terrorist attacks on Indian soil.

Pakistan denies the Indian charges, saying it only gives moral support to groups advocating the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination.

In recent months, the two sides have taken steps towards easing tensions, re-establishing full diplomatic ties and reconnecting transport links.


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