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Pakistan Conducts Third Missile Test This Month Amid Arms Race With India

A previous surface-to-surface missile launch in Pakistan
A previous surface-to-surface missile launch in Pakistan

Pakistan's army said it has successfully tested a new surface-to-surface missile that is capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads up to 2,200 kilometers.

The land-based missile test on January 24 was Pakistan's second in a month, ratcheting up its arms race with regional rival India. Pakistan also fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile on January 10.

The army said the Ababeel missile, which evades radar while traveling more than three times the distance between Islamabad and New Delhi, is a way of "enforcing deterrence."

India last year tested a locally designed antiballistic missile system designed to intercept a nuclear-carrying ballistic missile.

The latest missile tests reflect heightened tensions between the two nuclear-powered neighbors whose bitter standoff has fueled the fastest growth in nuclear stockpiles in the world today.

The countries have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

Last year, Pakistani officials expressed serious concern about Indian antiballistic missile testing, with Pakistani Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz telling the country's Senate that it could lead to the "nuclearization" of the Indian Ocean.

Both countries have routinely tested ballistic missiles since they first became nuclear capable in 1998.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa