Pakistani defense sources claimed yesterday that they have successfully tested the Hatf-II battlefield range ballistic missile. The sources from Pakistan Army claimed that the ballistic missile, which can carry nuclear warheads, is having an operational range of 180 km (compared to 70 km for Hatf-I). Another source from the intelligence agency Inter-Service Public Relations claimed that the Hatf-II is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear weapons. The statement also claimed that the accuracy of the newly tested missile is much more precise as compared to the earlier variants.
The army sources claimed that the operational capability of their troops will be much better after the proposed induction of the new missile and that the technical and strategic capability of the army is among one of the best in the region.
The testing of Hatf-II was supervised by Lt. Gen. (retd) Khalid Kidwai of the Strategic Planning Division and Lt Gen Tariq Nadeem Gilani of the Pakistan Army Strategic Forces Command. The development team, who were behind the successful testing of Hatf 2, was congratulated by the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, along with other high ranking government officials.
The army sources refused to reveal the exact location of the missile testing facility. The latest tests by Pakistani Army are expected to provoke a similar response from their Indian counterparts. Both the sides usually reciprocate major defense events conducted by the other, by conducting similar tests or exercises. An example is the 1998 nuclear testing by India, which was retaliated by the Pakistani Armed Forces by conducting their own nuclear tests within a short time.