NEW DELHI: India test-fired a nuclear-capable missile yesterday at its testing ranges in eastern India. Several hours later, Pakistan tested a similar missile with range to hit India, officials said.
The tit-for-tat missile tests come a day after India blamed “our neighbour'' for the massacre by unidentified gunmen of 24 Hindus in Kashmir, the Himalayan province claimed by both South Asian rivals.
“Pakistan has also test fired a missile today, but we informed India about it,'' Aziz Ahmed Khan, the spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, said.
“They didn't tell us about it beforehand,'' Khan said. “The common practice is for each country to inform the other before conducting a test, but this time we were surprised.''
Khan said Pakistan tested its Abdali missile, which can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and has a range of less than 200km. He would not say where the missile test was conducted, or at what time.
Khan said Islamabad was surprised by New Delhi's announcement that India had fired off a Prithvi missile from the Chandipur missile testing range in Orissa state. That missile has a range of 153km.
Khan said India was informed on Tuesday about Pakistan's plans to conduct the missile tests.
A Ministry of External Affairs official in New Delhi said it normally informs Islamabad of missile tests, but that those notices are based on the range of the missile test. He said he didn't immediately know whether the range of the Prithvi would have required notification.
Indian Ministry of Defense spokesman P.K. Bandopadhyay had little to say about Pakistan's test fire. “We are not concerned. We have no comments,'' he said. – AP
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