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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan successfully tests nuclear-capable missile

RIA Novosti

22/03/2007 11:14 ISLAMABAD, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - Pakistan has carried out a successful launch of a cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the country's television channels reported Thursday.

The domestically produced Hatf VII/ Babur, tested officially under a national program for the modernization and development of missile technology, is capable of delivering conventional and nuclear warheads to targets up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) away with pinpoint accuracy.

The missile test is the third this year, after Pakistan made two nuclear-capable launches - of a long-range Hatf VI/ Saheen II ballistic missile in February, and of a new surface-to-surface Hatf II/Abdali missile with a range of 120 miles in March.

Pakistan officially joined the club of nuclear powers in May 1998 when it detonated five nuclear devices in a mountain desert area in its Balochistan province.

It is believed to have started building its nuclear capability in the 1970s in response to nuclear tests in neighboring India. A long-standing conflict between the two countries over the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir put the subcontinent on the brink of nuclear war several times in the past.

Pakistan, like India, is not a signatory to either the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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