ISLAMABAD: The army on Thursday announced the second successful testing of tactical ballistic missile Nasr in a week, this time confirming the manoeuvring capabilities of the missile.
“The 2nd phase of this exercise was aimed at testing the extreme in-flight manoeuvrability, including the end-flight manoeuvrability; capable of defeating, by assured penetration, any currently available BMD system in our neighbourhood or any other system under procurement/development,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement.
In the latest tests, the missile was fired in single shots. A feature of the Jan 24 tests was firing of the missile in a salvo of four.
The Nasr has a 70-kilometre range and is said to possess high precision, and the ability of in-flight manoeuvrability. Because of its short range, lower trajectory and capability to manoeuvre, it is believed to be ideally suited to defeat India’s planned ballistic missile defence system.
The weapon system was inducted into Pakistan’s strategic arsenal in 2017 and its first training launch was held in July 2017.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had on that occasion said: “Nasr has put cold water on cold start.”
Nasr was developed in response to India’s cold start doctrine, whose existence was officially confirmed by Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat.
The tactical nuclear weapon system, it is said, is meant to deny space to India for conventional conflict below the nuclear threshold. Nasr, it is claimed, achieved its deterrence effect even before its formal induction.
Notwithstanding Pakistan’s assertions that Nasr is a “weapon of peace”, its detractors have criticised its development and claimed that it could lower the threshold of nuclear use. Critics also fear about its security.
Nasr’s latest tests have come at a time when India is struggling with the testing of its new tactical surface-to-surface missile Pralay. The test has been rescheduled a number of times.
The tests on Thursday were witnessed, among others, by Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director general of the Strategic Plans Division, and commander of the Army Strategic Forces Command.
Gen Hayat said the tests marked another milestone of national significance towards Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability.
He praised the professional attributes and dedicated efforts of all concerned which made the successful testing of the weapon system possible.
The president and prime minister along with services chiefs congratulated the scientists, engineers and the participating troops on the successful testing of the missile.
Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2019
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