ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Friday successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable short range surface to surface ballistic missile Hatf-II (Abdali), second in a week, as part of a process to validate land-based ballistic missile systems, a press release said Friday.  Abdali, with a range of 180 kilometres, can carry nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy. The weapon system with its varied maneuverability options provides an operational level capability to Pakistan’s strategic forces.

The test was witnessed by Commander Army Strategic Forces Command Lieutenant General Tariq Nadeem Gilani and other senior officers of the strategic forces. Agencies add: It was second missile test this week after the firing on Monday of a Nasr missile, which can carry strategic and conventional weapons up to 60 kilometres.  Those who were present on the occasion included Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General (R) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai and Lieutenant General Tariq Nadeem Gilani.

President and the prime minister later congratulated the scientists and engineers on this outstanding achievement, which consolidates Pakistan’s deterrence capability both at the operational and strategic levels. On Monday, Pakistan Army said it had conducted a successful test of a nuclear-capable short range surface to surface missile Hatf-IX (Nasr) with a range of 60 km. Pakistan and India have fought three wars, two over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, since independence from Britain in August 1947. Tensions have risen in recent weeks after the killing of four Pakistani and two Indian soldiers in clashes along the disputed Kashmir border.

The latest casualty occurred Thursday when a Pakistani soldier was killed by the Indian army after he inadvertently crossed the border.

The Indian military claimed the soldier was killed after he opened fire on its troops.