ISLAMABAD, March 6: The indigenously-produced Hatf-IV (Shaheen-I) medium-range ballistic missile was handed over to Pakistan army’s Strategic Force Command on Thursday by the National Development Complex at a ceremony presided over by President Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Shaheen-I, having a range of 750kms, can carry all types of warheads and is extremely accurate.

Speaking on the occasion, the president reiterated that Pakistan seeks peace in South Asia but will not compromise its minimum defence needs.

He ruled out the pursuit of an arms race and emphasized the need to consolidate minimum deterrence as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s security policy.

The president said that Pakistan does not threaten anyone nor would accept threats from anyone. Pakistan did not have global ambitions but was compelled to go nuclear due to belligerence in its neighbourhood.

This, however, did not imply an open-ended arms race specially in the strategic field. “We would seek qualitative refinements while consolidating minimum deterrence,” the President said.

President Musharraf once again reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to international non-proliferation norms and categorically rejected all insinuations and speculative stories to the contrary.

“We take our international responsibilities and obligations very seriously and none should doubt our watertight command and control mechanisms,” the president said.

The president congratulated the scientists, engineers and all workers of the NDC and National Engineering and Scientific Commission (Nescom) on the successful completion of their mission in record time.

He said the nation was stronger today due to their accomplishment and expected them to continue their hard work in the pursuit of even greater achievements.—APP

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