Pakistan tests night launch of ballistic missile

Pakistan carried out “successful” night training launch of a ballistic missile, the army said on Thursday, amid spiraling tensions with longtime rival India following the latter’s Kashmir move earlier this month.

Surface-to surface Ghaznavi missile — named after a 11th century Afghan ruler Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi who is famous for his numerous attacks on India — is “capable of delivering multiple types of warheads” up to 290 kilometers [180 miles], said Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, a spokesman of Pakistan army in a Twitter post.

The military also issued a video of the training launch.

The latest test marks the country’s third missile test this year. Pakistan test fired surface-to-surface Shaheen-II ballistic missile, and tactical ballistic missile Nasr in May and January respectively.

Already heightened tensions between the two neighbors have further flared up following New Delhi’s decision to strip the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir on Aug. 5, with security experts fearing a fresh arms race in South Asia.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions under which it enacted its own laws. The provisions also protected the region’s citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

Nuclear powers

Pakistan and India are among a small handful countries with nuclear arsenals. India joined the nuclear club long before Pakistan, in 1974, prompting Islamabad to follow suit.

Pakistan silently developed its own nuclear capability in the 1980s, when it was an ally of the U.S. in the first Afghan war against the crumbling Soviet Union.

It did not conduct any nuclear tests until India carried out a series of its own tests in 1999. Only three weeks later, Pakistan conducted six successful tests in the remote Chaghi district near the Afghanistan-Iran border, stoking fears of a nuclear war between the longtime rivals.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India currently possesses between 80 and 100 nuclear warheads, while Pakistan holds between 90 and 110.

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