Pakistan test-fires cruise missile

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan successfully tested a cruise missile with a range of 700 km (435 miles) on Tuesday, the military said.

The military did not say on Tuesday if the Hatf-VII (Babur) missile is nuclear-capable but it has previously identified it as such.

The test would consolidate Pakistan’s strategic capability and strengthen national security, the military said in a statement.

“The Babur, which has near stealth capabilities, is a low flying, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability, pin-point accuracy and radar avoidance features,” it said.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India routinely carry out missile tests despite a peace process they launched in early 2004, and both have agreed to inform each other of such tests in advance.

The South Asian neighbors carried out tit-for-tat nuclear weapons tests in 1998.

President Pervez Musharraf and caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro congratulated the scientists and engineers on the test firing and “assured them of their complete support in the development plans of all strategic projects”.

The missile was first tested in 2005. Since, then its range has been enhanced to 700 km, from 500 km.

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