Pakistan’s military on Tuesday said it had successfully test-fired a newly developed short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The military said in a statement that the ‘Hatf 9’ missile with a range of 60 kilometres (40 miles) “could carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yields with high accuracy.” “The missile has been developed to add deterrence value to Pakistan’s strategic weapons development programme at shorter ranges,” it said, adding that “this quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats”.
South Asian rivals India and Pakistan — which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir — have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998. Pakistan’s arsenal includes short-range, medium and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors. Pakistan carried out nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, following similar tests by India. The neighbours were on the brink of a nuclear conflict in 2002 over tensions about disputed Kashmir, but began a slow-moving peace dialogue in 2004, which resumed in March after three years of suspension following November 2008 Mumbai attacks.