Thursday, Mar 27, 2003
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
Pakistan's decision to test-fire Abdali that could carry a `variety' of warheads (obviously nuclear-included) is a clear tit-for-tat response. Last time when India test-fired Agni, Pakistan did not respond on the ground that the capabilities of similar versions of its missiles were proven.
The Information and Media Development Minister, Sheikh Ahmed Rashid, had accused New Delhi of heightening tensions in the region and further vitiating the already strained ties between India and Pakistan.
It appears that with the world attention riveted on Iraq, Pakistan has taken a different course this time.
Pakistan last tested the Abdali as part of a series of missile tests last May at the height of tensions with India.
Today's official announcement said the test validated all laid-down technology parameters of the weapon system. Abdali is a Battlefield Range Ballistic Missile (BRBM) with a range of around 180 km and can carry a variety of warheads.
The Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, and the Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, sent congratulatory messages to the scientists and engineers associated with the project on what was termed as "their outstanding success".
In a separate statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman, Aziz Ahmed Khan, said the Prithvi missile test conducted by India had come as "surprise to us as we were not notified about the test in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries on 21st February 1991''.
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