Pakistan Test-Fires Short-Range Missile Capable of Carrying Nuclear Device

Pakistan's military said Wednesday it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear device.

The army's Strategic Missile Group launched the Ghazanvi missile, which has a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles), from an undisclosed location, a military statement said.

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro, top army officials and scientists witnessed the test, it said.

With the launch, the army's Strategic Force Command "concluded its highly successful winter collective training," the statement said.

Pakistan became a declared nuclear power in 1998 by conducting nuclear tests in response to those carried out by neighboring India and test-firing its first missile the same year.

Since then, the two countries have routinely tested their missiles, and Wednesday's launch by Pakistan was the third in recent weeks.

Soomro said Wednesday that Pakistan seeks peace in the region, but "peace comes from strength" and "weakness invites aggression."

Pakistan is "fully committed to retain a strong conventional and unconventional deterrence and will meet all the needs of a strong national defense," the military statement quoted him as saying.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations and have fought three wars since both gained independence from Britain in 1947.

However, relations have improved markedly since 2004, when the two countries began a peace process to resolve outstanding disputes, including competing claims to the divided Himalayan region of Kashmir.