ISLAMABAD, May 29: Pakistan on Saturday test-fired its nuclear-capable Hatf V Ghauri missile. The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile test came in continuation of a series of tests that have been carried out by Pakistan from time to time to confirm improvement in the qualitative parameters of its vast range of ballistic missiles inventory , said Inter-Services Public Relations chief Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan.

Talking to Dawn, the ISPR director-general said the Ghauri missile, capable of being loaded with all types of warheads and with an effective range of up to 1,500km, was second to Hatf VI (Shaheen II) in terms of its reach.

When asked whether the test could affect the peace efforts between Pakistan and India, he answered in the negative.

"As long as intentions on both sides are good and the two governments are committed to establishing peace in the region the efforts in that direction will go on," he said.

"It is the legitimate right of any country to test its weapons technology for defence purposes," Maj-Gen Sultan said, disagreeing with the suggestion that the test could be interpreted by India as a hostile gesture.

He said Pakistan would have no problem if India reciprocated. "Pakistan will also conduct similar tests in the future to upgrade its weapons programme," he maintained.

Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who witnessed the test-fire, said Pakistan's policy of maintaining minimum credible deterrence was inflexible.

Congratulating the team for carrying out the test, he vowed that Pakistan's edge over its adversaries in the strategic field would be maintained.

NOTICE TO INDIA: An official source in New Delhi said India had received an advance notice of the test, adds AFP.

The Pakistan's high commission in New Delhi had informed India's foreign ministry about the possible tests 'a couple of days ago,' the source said.

In a statement issued in Tokyo, foreign ministry press secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima called the test 'deeply regrettable'.

"The Japanese government hopes that the test will not bring about a negative effect on the positive developments between India and Pakistan towards improving their relations," the statement said, adding that Tokyo "further calls on Pakistan to respond sincerely to the efforts by the international community for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles."

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