Pakistan has said it test-fired a ballistic missile, amid tensions with India, while also claiming it wants peace with its rival. The statement comes as India counts election votes, with Narendra Modi expected to retain power.
Pakistan’s military claims the missile is capable of delivering conventional and nuclear weapons at a range of up to 1,500 miles in a possible warning to India.
“Shaheen-II is a highly capable missile which fully meets Pakistan’s strategic needs towards maintenance of deterrence stability in the region,” Pakistan’s military said in a statement. Shaheen has been in service since 2014 and is thought to be based on a Chinese design.
Successful training launch of surface to surface ballistic missile Shaheen-II conducted. Capable of carrying both conventional & nuclear warheads upto a range of 1500 KMs. Shaheen-II fully meets Pak’s strat needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region. pic.twitter.com/I9t468wxnq
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) May 23, 2019
No mention of India was made, but the statement was given after heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, which risked escalating into a war over the disputed Kashmir region.
In February, a suicide bomb attack took place in Kashmir, killing 40 Indian paramilitary police officers. Indian jets responded by striking what New Dehli claims was a training camp for radical group Jaish-e Mohammed, which it blamed for the attack. Pakistan then launched a retaliatory strike and the two countries fought with jets, resulting in an Indian pilot being shot and captured.
Pakistan has nevertheless opened up to peace talks after India’s election, which will likely see Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in power. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he believed dialogue with India would be easier if the nationalist Hindu party of Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the election.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states meeting in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. “We never speak bitterly, we want to live like good neighbors and settle our outstanding issues through talks,” Qureshi said.
The two countries have been rivals since disputes over Kashmir, which they both claim belongs to them since gaining independence from Britain after WWII.
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