November 22, 2002

Pakistan Tests Second Missile, India Boosts Defense

Pakistan tested a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday, ignoring calls to abandon a series of tests that has stoked tension with India and raised fears of war between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

India has played down the tests as routine but boosted security to protect vital off- and on-shore oil and gas facilities.

"As part of a series of missile tests currently under way, Pakistan today carried out a successful test fire of its newly developed short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile Hatf-3 (Ghaznavi)," the Pakistani military said in a statement.

The United States and Russia had asked Pakistan to stop the tests that began on Saturday with the launch of a medium-range missile capable of firing nuclear warheads at key Indian cities, including New Delhi and Bombay.

Pakistan said earlier the "routine" tests would continue until Tuesday.

The two neighbors have massed a million men on their border since a deadly raid on India's parliament in December that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based Muslim militants.

Tension surged in the wake of a bloody May 14 raid on a Indian army camp in Kashmir.

President Bush, in Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin, expressed deep concern on Saturday and called on Pakistan to stop militant raids into Indian-controlled territory.

Putin, speaking after the Saturday test, said it had added anxiety to an already tense climate.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said both the U.S. and the Russian sides had asked Pakistan to stop the tests.

"We believe that such actions amid a crisis of this nature will only complicate the situation and heighten tension and we have asked Pakistan to refrain from taking such steps," Ivanov said.

The Pakistani military statement said President Pervez Musharraf had sent his congratulations after the Sunday test.

"This was the first test of the Ghaznavi missile, which is capable of carrying warheads accurately up to a range of 290 km (180 miles). The flight data collected indicated that all design parameters have been successfully validated," it said.

Musharraf said on Saturday that Pakistan did not want war but was not afraid of it.


French President Jacques Chirac telephoned India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Saturday to discuss the tension.

Chirac said efforts must be redoubled to dry up the sources of terrorism and to seek a peaceful solution. He was due to telephone U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Musharraf later.

India accuses Pakistan of backing raids by Islamic guerrillas fighting Indian forces in Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state. Pakistan says it only offers Kashmiri separatists political support.

India bitterly complains that the United States and other countries are too soft on Musharraf, embracing him as an ally in the war on terror against the al Qaeda network while Islamabad supports what New Delhi calls "cross-border terrorism."

Vajpayee, speaking in the northern town of Manali in the Himalayan foothills where he is on a break, said New Delhi's patience was running out and urged world leaders to step up pressure on Pakistan to stop the militants.

The timing of the tests is a defiant gesture that added to world alarm to what Secretary of State Colin Powell called a very dangerous situation on the subcontinent.

The United States warned its citizens against traveling to India and Pakistan and advised those there to consider leaving. Australia issued a similar warning.


Bush urged Musharraf to fulfil a pledge to stop militant raids into Indian Kashmir while Putin said he hoped Musharraf and Vajpayee could sort out their differences at a regional conference in Kazakhstan in June.

An Indian spokeswoman confirmed Vajpayee would attend the summit and might meet Putin. She could not comment on any plans to talk with Musharraf.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir.

The two sides have regularly traded heavy fire across the Kashmir frontier for more than a week and dozens of civilians and soldiers on both sides have been killed and wounded. Thousands of civilians have fled front-line villages on both sides.

Pakistani officials said at least 11 civilians were killed by Indian fire on Saturday. Ten people, mostly rebels, were killed and 17 wounded in clashes in Indian Kashmir, Indian police said.

(China Daily May 27, 2002)

In This Series
Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

India Talks of War, World Watches Warily

Britain Recalls Some Diplomats From Pakistan

India Says Time for Decisive Fight

Tensions Mount Over Kashmir

Kashmir Separatist Leader Shot Dead


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