February 21, 2013

Pakistan Conducts 2nd Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile Test

February 17, 2013

On February 15, Pakistan successfully test fires the short range, surface-to-surface ballistic Abdali-I (codename Hatf II) from an undisclosed location

Pakistan successfully tested its short range, surface-to-surface ballistic Abdali-I missile on February 15. The Abdali-I, codenamed Hatf II, is capable of carrying a conventional and/or nuclear payload with a reported range of more than 110 miles. Earlier this week, the Pakistani military stated that it had also conducted a test of its NASR or Hatf IX short range, surface-to-surface missile, which is also capable of carrying a nuclear payload and has an estimated range of roughly 10 miles. The new round of nuclear-capable, surface-to-surface ballistic missile testing by Pakistan is likely in response to India’s recent submarine-based ballistic missile test.

Pakistan is likely trying to reassert its nuclear deterrence capability in the face of a widening capabilities gap with its archrival India.  The tit-for-tat missile tests may also indicate that a nuclear arms race is in the offing.  It will likely exacerbate regional anxieties and further complicate the already tense situation, especially in light of recent fatal cross-border incidents between India and Pakistan along the disputed Kashmiri border.

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