Pakistan’s military did not say whether the test-fired Shaheen III missile was capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
21 Jan 2021
The missile test, conducted on Wednesday, “was aimed at re-validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system”, said a statement from the military’s press wing.
The statement said the missile’s point of impact was in the Arabian Sea, and that the test was witnessed by the chairman of Pakistan’s Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Lieutenant-General Nadeem Zaki Manj, and other top officials.
Pakistan’s military did not say whether the tested version of the Shaheen III missile was capable of carrying nuclear weapons, although it has previously been described as having that capability.
Shaheen III, a land-based surface-to-surface medium-range ballistic missile, shown during a military event [File: T Mughal/EPA]
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.