Days After India Signs S-400 Deal, Pakistan Test-fires Nuclear-capable Ghauri Ballistic Missile
The launching of nuclear-capable Ghauri missile system (Photo: Videograb)

Pakistan successfully launched and tested on Monday its Ghauri (previously Hatf) Missile System, which can carry conventional and nuclear warheads with a range of more than 1300 km, bringing many Indian cities under its range.

The launch was conducted by Army Strategic Forces Command and was aimed at testing the operational and technical readiness of the military, according to the Inter Services Public Relations, the media wing of the army.

"Ghauri Ballistic Missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1,300 kms," it said in a statement. Army Strategic Forces Command chief Lt Gen Muhammad Hilal Hussain "appreciated the standard of training and operational preparedness of Army Strategic Forces," it said.

The demonstration comes after India signed an agreement with Russia on Friday to purchase S-400 air defense system worth $5 billion. At the end of last month, New Delhi also canceled talks with Islamabad that were slated to take place on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, criticized India for the decision, saying that it used incidents that occurred in July to justify canceling negotiations that had been scheduled in September.

When asked by reporters if there was a possibility of another war between Pakistan and India, Qureshi suggested it wasn’t on the table.

"Who is talking of war? Not us. We want peace, stability, employment and improving lives. You identify where is the reluctance,” he said. “We want peace. It does not mean we cannot defend ourselves against aggression. We can but we do not have an aggressive mindset."

However, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj pushed back, rejecting the accusation that her country undermined the negotiations. She also accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists. "Our neighbor's expertise is not restricted to spawning grounds for terrorism,” Swaraj said, Radio Free Europe reported. “It is also an expert in trying to mask malevolence with verbal duplicity." (With Agency inputs)