Pakistan tests ballistic missile amid ongoing tensions with India
Pakistan announced Thursday that it had successfully tested a surface-to-surface missile with the capacity of carrying various types of warheads over distances up to 290 kilometers (180 miles).
The official Twitter account of the Pakistan Armed Forces shared a video of the training launch of the Ghaznavi missile, adding: “President & PM conveyed appreciation to team & congrats to the nation.”
In a weekly media briefing Thursday, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We were aware of the test. As per the established CBM, we were informed about the test by Pakistan.” He was referring to the confidence building measures agreed between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Pakistan’s last surface-to-surface missile test occurred in May, during vote counting in India’s national election.
The latest show of force comes amid ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir, over which they have repeatedly clashed since partition in 1947. In February, the countries’ militaries became locked in a standoff after India blamed Pakistan for a suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed over 40 Indian troops.
In April, both countries accused each other of unprovoked fire across Kashmir’s Line of Control, which separates the Indian and Pakistani-controlled sides of the region and where a bilateral ceasefire has been in place since 2003. Three Pakistani soldiers were killed, while a five-year-old girl and a paramilitary soldier were died on the Indian side of the de facto border.
Earlier this month, the government of Narendra Modi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir state — the Indian-controlled area also claimed by Pakistan — bringing it under central rule.
India then imposed a communications blackout in Kashmir, travel curfews and roadblocks on the region.
In response, Pakistan announced it would downgrade diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with India.
Both countries accused each other of violating the Line of Control ceasefire again in a clash that began on August 15. Pakistan’s military spokesperson said three Pakistani soldiers and five Indian soldiers were killed, while the Indian army called the claims “fictitious,” accusing Pakistan of commencing fire.
In a televised address to the nation Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the conflict over Kashmir could result in a nuclear “disaster,” the responsibility for which “will lie in the hands of the superpowers of the world.”
Sophia Saifi contributed to this report.