WASHINGTON – The United States on Friday urged India and Pakistan to continue to exercise restraint in their nuclear activities, despite Pakistan's latest test of a nuclear rocket.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher (search) said Friday's test seemed unlikely to cause tensions to escalate, but U.S. officials are urging both nations to restrain their weapons and missile programs, and not deploy nuclear-armed ballistic missiles (search).
"We've also encouraged them to begin a dialogue on confidence-building measures that could reduce the likelihood that such weapons would ever be used," Boucher said. "And obviously, we think that dialogue could be part of broader engagement between the two countries to reduce tensions."
Pakistan's army announced Friday that it had launched a short-range Hatf-3 Ghaznavi (search) missile, which can carry conventional and non-conventional weapons and has a range of 180 miles — capable of striking targets in India.
The test came as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage (search) prepared to visit Pakistan and Afghanistan Oct 4-7.
Armitage is to meet with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (search), Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials to discuss U.S. assistance and "cooperation that we have with Pakistan and with Afghanistan in the war on terror," Boucher said.