ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan on Friday successfully test-fired a medium-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile, an event witnessed by the nation's new army chief, the military said.
The Strategic Missile Group launched the Shaheen-1 missile from an undisclosed location at the conclusion of the army's annual field training exercises, a statement said. The missile has a range of 420 miles.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan routinely tests the various missiles in its arsenal, designed to match that of neighboring archrival India.
Friday's launch was witnessed by army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who congratulated the troops on achieving "high standards of training and excellent results" during the exercise, the statement said.
Kayani recently took over as army chief after President Pervez Musharraf gave up that role in the face of Western and domestic pressure.
The statement quoted Kayani as saying that Pakistan's armed forces were a "highly professional, motivated and well trained force" and were "capable of safeguarding and securing nuclear assets against all categories of threat."
Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations and they have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
However, relations between them have improved since 2004 when they started a peace process to resolve all disputes, including their competing claims to the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998, when it conducted underground nuclear tests in response to those carried out by India. Pakistan also tested its first missile the same year.