The growing Pakistani nuclear horn: Daniel 8

Pakistan is one of eight nations worldwide with stated nuclear weapons capability.

Its eastern neighbour and rival India, with whom it has fought three full-scale wars since both countries gained independence from Britain in 1947, also has nuclear weapons.

The Shaheen III is Pakistan’s longest-range missile system, developed with the intention of being capable of reaching Indian island territories to deny Indian forces the ability to establish a “second strike capability”, according to comments made by retired Lieutenant-General Khalid Kidwai, the former chief of Pakistan’s nuclear plans division in 2015.

“Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee asserted that Pakistan desires peaceful co-existence in the region and its strategic capability is to deter any aggression against the sovereignty of Pakistan,” said the military statement after Wednesday’s test.

Both South Asian countries routinely conduct missile tests, of which they notify the other in advance as per a 2005 bilateral missile test pact.

President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the military and the scientists involved after the successful test.

Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.

Pakistan successfully tests medium-range missile

Pakistan’s military did not say whether the test-fired Shaheen III missile was capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

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