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Pakistan test fires short-range ballistic missile

— Photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Monday it had successfully test fired a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying atomic warheads.

The Hatf II (Abdali) has a range of 180 kilometres (113 miles) and carries nuclear as well as conventional warheads with “high accuracy”, the military said in a statement.

“It provides an operational level capability to Pakistan's strategic forces, additional to the strategic and tactical level capability which Pakistan already possesses,” the statement said.

South Asian rivals India and Pakistan - which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 - have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.

Pakistan's arsenal includes short-, medium- and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.

The neighbours were on the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, but a slow-moving peace dialogue resumed last March after a three-year suspension following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

India and the United States blamed the attacks on Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Islamabad later admitted that the assault was at least partly planned in Pakistan.

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