Pakistan has successfully conducted first flight test of surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile ‘Ababeel’, said Pakistan military. The missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 2,200 kms, which brings many Indian cities within its striking range. Ababeel is capable of delivering multiple warheads using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a statement. “The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system,” he said.
This development comes just weeks after the neigbouring country test fired the Babur-, its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 450 km. In a statement released by the media wing of the Pakistani military, the Inter Services Public Relations claimed: “Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating hostile radars.”
This development comes just weeks after the neighbouring country successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable Babur-3, its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 450 kms. In an apparent reference to India, the release said, “The development of the Ababeel weapon system was aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.”
Referring to India’s test of its nuclear-capable Agni-IV missile on January 2, Pakistan had also cautioned members of MTCR that introduction of destabilising systems such as “missile defence programmes” and “inter-continental ballistic missiles” in South Asia pose a “risk” to regional stability.
The United States also weighed down on Pakistan’s test of Babur-3 missile urging it to ‘exercise restraint regarding the use and testing of their nuclear capabilities’. “We continue to urge all states with nuclear weapons to exercise restraint regarding nuclear and missile capability testing and use, and we encourage efforts to promote confidence building and stability with respect to those capabilities,” former US state department spokesperson John Kirby had said.
(With PTI inputs)