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Wed 13 Feb 2008 11:15 AM

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Pakistan tests nuclear-capable missile

State fires short-range ballistic missile, third such training launch in as many weeks.

Pakistani troops fired a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile during exercises on Wednesday in the third such training launch in as many weeks, the army said.

Soldiers from the country's strategic force command carried out a "successful" launch of the Hatf III (Ghaznavi) missile, which has a range of 290 kilometres, an army statement said.

The launch was witnessed by caretaker Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro and army chief Ashfaq Kayani, the statement added, saying that more details would be announced later.

Pakistan and India have routinely conducted missile tests since the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours carried out tit-for-tat atomic detonations in May 1998.

However in 2004 they launched a slow-moving peace process aimed at ending six decades of hostility and resolving their dispute over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, the cause of two of their three wars.

In February 2007 Pakistan and India signed a deal to cut the risk of atomic weapons accidents.

The two countries have an agreement to notify each other about tests of ballistic missiles but not cruise missiles.

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