I guess that it is time to attack Pakistan now?

Pakistan fires first cruise missile as President’s present
By Times Online

Pakistan has successfully carried out a test firing of its first cruise missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

President Pervez Musharraf said that the launch of the Hatf VII Babr, which has a range of 300 miles and is equipped with advanced anti-detection systems, was a “major milestone” in the countryís defence programme.

Its apparent success places Pakistan among a select group of nations with the capability of using the sophisticated low-flying projectiles.

The trial firing, on General Musharraf’s 62nd birthday, was carried out with no advance warning to India, despite the rival countries signing a deal at the weekend to notify each other before carrying out nuclear tests.

Muhammad Naeem Khan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, said that the agreement refers only to ballistic missiles and not cruise missiles, which are low-flying guided missiles that use jet propulsion to allow sustained flight.There was no immediate reaction from New Delhi.

Sheikh Rashid, the Information Minister, said: “It is a gift of the scientists on the birthday of President Musharraf and the Independence Day.” Pakistan celebrates the 58th anniversary of the end of British colonial rule on Sunday.

The missile could avoid radar detection to penetrate hostile defensive systems “with pinpoint accuracy”, the statement added, and could also be launched from ships, submarines and aircraft.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, at least 12 countries export cruise missiles: Britain, the United States, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Taiwan.

India unveiled its first cruise missile, a supersonic joint venture with Russia in 2001. Pakistan and India conducted tit-for-tat test nuclear detonations in 1998 and came to the brink of war in 2002. The historical rivals, who have already fought three wars, routinely carry out tests of nuclear-capable missiles.

On Saturday, they signed the long-awaited deal to set up a nuclear hotline to alert each other in advance of missile tests. The telephone link is to be set up by September.

The agreement was part of an ongoing 18-month peace process that has brought India and Pakistan to their closest relationship for decades and seen the restoration of some sporting and transport links.

The peace dialogue has focused on the problem of Kashmir, the Himalayan state claimed by both countries, where an Islamic insurgency on the Indian side has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989.

Pakistan is at the centre of investigations into a nuclear black market run by its disgraced scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who confessed in 2004 to passing atomic secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Posted by SPN on 08/11 at 10:36 AM in Politics

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