Pakistan says long-range missile ready

Image: A Hatf-VI (Shaheen-II) missile takes off during a test flight in Pakistan
A Hatf VI missile takes off during a test flight from an undisclosed location in Pakistan on Monday.Str / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

Pakistan said that a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead anywhere in Indian is ready for wartime use after troops launched it on Monday during a field exercise.

Scientists and engineers had prepared the Hatf VI missile, also known as Shaheen II, for the exercise with a test-firing on Saturday.

Monday's launch "validated the operational readiness of a strategic missile group equipped with the Shaheen II missile," the Pakistani military said in a statement.

The army says the missile has a range of about 1,200 miles, the longest of several missiles in Pakistan's nuclear-capable arsenal. That is far enough to hit targets anywhere in archrival India, as well as in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Navy Chief Adm. Muhammad Afzal Tahir congratulated those responsible for the exercise on the "successful launch and the accuracy of the missile at the target," the statement said.

Tahir said Pakistan could be proud of the "reliability of its nuclear deterrence" and that the country would further enhance its nuclear capability.

Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998 by conducting nuclear tests in response to those carried out by India.

The South Asian neighbors have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

However, their relations have improved since 2004, when they began a peace process aimed at resolving their core dispute over the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim.

Both countries routinely test missiles.