January 24, 2017 / 1:42 PM / 9 months ago

Pakistan tests second nuclear-capable missile this month

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan successfully tested a new nuclear capable surface-to-surface missile on Tuesday that is able to deliver multiple warheads and evade radar detection, the army’s media wing said.

It was Pakistan’s second missile test in a month.

The Ababeel missile can reach targets at a range of 2,200 km (1367 miles), over three times the distance between Islamabad and New Delhi, capital of Pakistan’s rival, and was heralded in an army statement as a way of “enforcing deterrence”.

The test follows the firing of Pakistan’s first submarine-launched cruise missile on Jan. 10.

India last year tested a locally designed anti-ballistic ,issile system, according to media reports, which could in theory intercept a nuclear-carrying ballistic missile.

The latest missile tests are expected to fuel already heightened tensions between nuclear-powered neighbors Pakistan and India.

The countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 divided the Indian subcontinent into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.

“Development of (the) Ababeel Weapon System is aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment,” the statement reads.

India’s defense and foreign ministries in New Delhi declined to comment.

Last year, Pakistani officials had expressed serious concern about Indian anti-ballistic missile testing with Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz telling the country’s Senate that it could lead to the “nuclearization” of the Indian Ocean.

Both countries have routinely tested ballistic missiles since they first became nuclear capable in 1998.

Additional reporting by Rupam Nair in NEW DELHI. Writing by Saad Sayeed. Editing by Kay Johnson/Jermey Gaunt

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