Da Bomb, Part II

Sally Khudairi (sk@zotgroup.com)
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 07:37:35 -0400


Pakistan conducts second nuclear capable missile test

April 15, 1999
Web posted at: 2:56 a.m. EDT (0656

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP)
-- Pakistan tested a second
nuclear-capable missile
Thursday, upping the ante in
the race with its uneasy
neighbor India.

The newest missile was the
Shaheen 1, the first in a new
series of surface-to-surface
missiles, with a range of 750 kilometers (450 miles),
military and government
officials said. The missile's range was considerably
less than the Ghauri II
ballistic missile tested by Pakistan on Wednesday.

"The missile was tested at 9:58 a.m. (0458 GMT) and it
was a success," said
an official at the Atomic Energy Commission.

Officials said the test was conducted at the Sonmiani
naval base, some 50
kilometers (30 miles) from Pakistan's southern port
city of Karachi in
southwestern Baluchistan province on the Arabian Sea

The earlier test of the Ghauri II, which has a range
of 2,000 kilometers (1,200
miles), was carried out in apparent response to a
trial launch of an advanced
version of India's Agni missile last Sunday. The
Ghauri II, like the new Shaheen
missile can carry a nuclear or conventional payload of
1,000 kilograms (2,200

"These flight tests have strengthened national
security and will help in
maintaining a strategic balance in South Asia," said a
foreign ministry
statement issued soon after the test.

But the missile testing in South Asia, a region that
openly possesses the
ability to make nuclear bombs, appears to be moving
Pakistan and India closer
to a full-blown arms race.

Since the two countries exploded nuclear devices last
year and declared
themselves nuclear powers, the international community
has been trying to
avert a regional arms race.

After Wednesday's test both
countries moved to
allay those fears. However,
Pakistan did not
immediately offered an
explanation for the latest

Official sources indicated that
a second, more
advanced Shaheen missile, with a
range of 2,300
kilometers (1,430 miles), was
ready and waiting
to be tested.

Although there was no
announcement of when or
if their would be a trial of the
advanced Shaheen,
a foreign ministry statement
said Thursday's test
"concludes, for now, the series
of . . . flight tests
involving solid and liquid fuel
rocket motor
technologies, which started

Pakistan has said it doesn't
want to embark on
an arms race, but won't be left
behind if India
begins developing nuclear arms.

The two countries have fought three wars in the past
51 years and their new
nuclear status has caused many world leaders to
express a fear that another
confrontation between Pakistan and India could
escalate into a nuclear war.

In comments published Thursday in the English-language
newspaper, The
News Qadir Khan, the architect of Pakistan's nuclear
program, dismissed
allegations that Pakistan's missile technology has
been purchased from North

Pakistan also is accused of buying M-11 ballistic
missiles, capable of carrying
nuclear warheads, from China, a charge both countries

"They (western countries) have always been
underestimating and underrating
our capability," Khan was quoted as saying. "All the
time whatever we do there
is always a blame that we got things from here and

Following the test, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
congratulated Pakistan's
scientists "on this great achievement.

"The credit for the successful flight test of the
Shaheen belongs to the
dedicated community of our scientists, who have
mastered the sophisticated
technology and skills necessary for the production of
such missiles."