Pakistan Successfully Tests Upgraded Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile
Pakistan on Wednesday carried out a successful launch of an upgraded ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warhead, days after the Indian archenemy successfully tested a long-range missile. In a written statement, Pakistani military announced it launched into the sea a Haft IV Shaheen-1A missile.
The missile was described as an intermediate-range missile with a longer range than the previous Shaheen-1, which is believed to fly 750 kilometers. The responsible for the nuclear program of Pakistan, Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, said, after witnessing the successful launch, that the improved version of Shaheen-1A will further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan’s deterrence capability.
A retired general told Wall Street Journal that the timing of the launch was calculates so that it may showcase the might of Pakistan following the launch of the Agni V in India, which is said to have the capability of flying 5,000 kilometers.
India focused its attention on the eastern neighbor China, and the Indian media even deemed the new missile as “China killer,” causing the Indian Prime Minister to praise the achievement of the domestic scientists, which in his opinion placed the country among the technologically developed countries.
By its launch, India became one of the few countries with intercontinental missile capabilities, along with Russia, Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States. The Agni V is said to have the capacity to hit targets in China or even Europe and is considered a deterrent by the officials in New Delhi.
China officially congratulated India for its technological achievement, and expressed conviction that it was not going to trigger an arms race, since the two regional powers were cooperating in many fields of endeavor, including within the BRICS group, an umbrella for the nations that emerge now as future economic world superpowers, composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Chinese Foreign Ministry reminded that cooperation in the Asian zone was the operative word when it came to relations between India and China, but the Chinese media controlled by the state took a different approach on the Indian achievement, reminding India that China had nuclear capacity and a far larger arsenal, and criticizing it for spending money on long-range missiles while people there are starving.
Chinese media went as far as to say that India was executing a plan drafted by the western states, aimed at containing Chinese economic growth and its projection of power in the region, which Beijing says is strictly defensive.
The American administration hailed Indians achievements during visits in India by the president in 2010 and the U.S. State Secretary in 2011, and dubbed India as the largest democracy around the world and America’s strategic partner in the region.
In an exhortation which seemed to play the two regional powers against one another, U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton last year asked of the Indian leadership to stand up and assume the role it must play in the region, that of promoter of peace and democracy. The call was made also in regard to the security of Afghanistan in the post-war era.
The Pakistani retired general expressed his conviction that there is a competition in the region between countries which still have issues to settle. He added that in his opinion the Shaheen-1A was already ready for firing, that is it has accomplished all tests that precede the use of it in the army’s arsenal.
The Pakistani test must be placed in the context of good relations between Pakistan and China, as China has contributed to the Pakistani military technology by helping it develop military and civilian nuclear capabilities.
Pakistan is said to be unable to compete on the field of conventional weapons with the budget India is allocating, deemed by latest estimates to reach over the next years half of the current military budget of China, but has focused on the nuclear capacity, by acquiring about 100 warheads, which places it slightly ahead of India.
Pakistan and India conducted nuclear tests in 1998, both condemned at the time by the United States. India, however, made significant steps toward the non-proliferation program, being rewarded by the United States with allowing in 2005 U.S. companies to sell nuclear fuel to India for civil reactors, which was not the case with Pakistan, which remained reliant on China alone for help with nuclear program, thus being sanctioned by the United States for its history of selling nuclear secrets, Wall Street Journal reports.
The United States and the European countries did not react with concern to the Indian launch of the Agni V, because India is not being perceived as a threat to the democratic world.
The reaction was different however to the failed attempt made by the regime in NKorea to place a satellite into orbit, a move considered by the international community as a cover for long-range missiles tests.
The United Nations fears that the failure of the regime to send its rocket into space could be followed by a nuclear test, in keeping with the pattern established in 2006 and 2009, when after similar attempts the regime conducted nuclear tests, which brought it international condemnation.
NKorea is seen as a threat to world peace, since its regime is promoting an aggressive nuclear program and very tense ties with its neighbors. Any attempts to curve its nuclear ambitions and the launch of the satellite have been unsuccessful.
China, which is the only country NKorea has close ties with and on which it depends economically to large extent, was in a position to offer explanations to the United States as a transporting truck with components similar with those produced by China appeared in a military parade staged in Pyongyang soon after the launch.
NKorea is under U.N. resolutions prohibiting any country to assist its nuclear or conventional military program. China denied helping in any way NKorea develop a military program.11