Pakistan Test Fires Second Missile

With border tension running high in South Asia, nuclear-armed Pakistan test-fired a medium-range surface-to-surface missile Tuesday, its second in less than a week, an army statement said.

The launch of the nuclear-capable Shaheen missile was part of a series of tests that began Friday, the army said in a statement. State-controlled Pakistan Television said Tuesday's test completed the series.

Nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India conducted tit-for-tat missile tests on Friday.

With more than 1 million soldiers deployed along the disputed Kashmir border, where there have been daily gunbattles, the continued missile testing threatens to escalate tensions in a region that is already one step from the brink of war.

Tuesday's test was conducted in Pakistan's sparsely populated southwestern Baluchistan province. The missile had an estimated range of 510 miles, according to Pakistani defense reports, making it capable of reaching most targets in India.

India appeared unconcerned by the latest test.

"They are a sovereign country, they have tested their missiles, good luck to them," Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said in Berlin, where he was on a state visit. Asked what India would do in response to the Pakistani test, Sinha replied: "Nothing."

In a statement carried on state television, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf congratulated the scientists who worked on the missile.

"The successful test fire of the indigenously developed shaheen weapons system is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and professional excellence of Pakistani scientists and engineers," the statement said.

Pakistan tested a similar missile Friday. Within hours, New Delhi tested its most sophisticated surface-to-air missile, meant to bolster its air defense.

In the past, the countries have notified each other when they were planning to conduct missile tests. Pakistani officials did not immediately comment on whether India was told a test would be conducted Tuesday.

Both Pakistan and India claim to have nuclear weapons in their arsenals, although neither country is believe to have acquired the technology to attach nuclear warheads to their missiles.

Pakistan and India have gone to war three times since they were separated in 1947, twice over the Kashmir region. They came dangerously close to a fourth confrontation after militants attacked the Indian Parliament in New Delhi last December.

India accused Pakistani intelligence of masterminding the attack, a charge Islamabad denied.

Both India and Pakistan claim a united Kashmiri as their own. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants who are demanding an independent Kashmir or a Kashmir aligned to Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge.