ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan successfully test-fired a new version of its short-range, nuclear-capable missile Monday, officials said, in the latest round of tit-for-tat launches with neighboring India despite recent peace overtures.
Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan insisted the test of the Ghazanvi missile (search) will have no negative impact on the peace process with Pakistan's rival, India, which had no immediate comment on the launch.
"We have test-fired this missile to check its latest design," he told The Associated Press.
The military said Pakistan's neighbors, including India, had been notified of the test in advance. India and Pakistan routinely test missiles.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf (search) and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz congratulated scientists for giving Pakistan the missile and "making its defense impregnable," another military official said on condition of anonymity.
He said more such tests will be carried out in the coming days.
The military issued a statement saying the Ghazanvi has already been added to the army's "strategic command," and that "Pakistan's nuclear and missile program will maintain the pace of development, and tests will continue to be conducted as per technical needs."
It was the third test of the Ghazanvi missile. India has said technology for the missile was given to Islamabad by China or North Korea in the 1990s.
Just six weeks ago, Pakistan tested its Ghauri V missile (search), which has a range of 930 miles, making it capable of hitting many Indian cities.
India on Friday test-fired a surface-to-air short-range missile on the coast of eastern Orissa state.
When contacted by AP, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna refused to comment on Pakistan's missile test, saying: "We don't react to that. We never have."
Pakistan's latest test comes days after Aziz traveled to India and met with his counterpart Manmohan Singh to discuss outstanding issues, including their long and bitter territorial dispute over Kashmir.
Divided between Pakistan and India but claimed in entirety by both, Kashmir has triggered two of the rivals' three wars since 1947, when they gained independence from Britain.
Both countries have agreed in recent months to resolve their disputes through negotiations.
Pakistan became a declared nuclear power on May 28, 1998, when it conducted underground nuclear tests in response to those carried out by India. It tested its first missile the same year.