( dpa ) - The Pakistan army's Strategic Missile Group on Friday conducted a successful launch of a medium-range ballistic missile, marking the conclusion of its annual field training exercises, the military said in a statement.
With a range of 700 kilometres, Shaheen-1 (Hatf-IV) is an operational weapon system held by the army's Strategic Force Command. The missile is capable of shooting both conventional and nuclear weapons with pin-point accuracy.
Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who witnessed the launch carried out at an undisclosed location, told the troops that the officers and men entrusted with the task of deterring aggression must continue to train hard and maintain professional excellence.
Asserting that " Pakistan did not have any aggressive designs against anyone," General Kayani said the nation had developed a strong nuclear capability "solely for the purpose of deterring all types of aggression."
He dismissed the international concerns over Pakistan's strategic safeguards as "unrealistic and based on a lack of understanding of Pakistan command and control mechanisms."
The Pakistani military is a highly professional, motivated and well-trained force "capable of safeguarding and securing nuclear assets against all categories of threat," Kayani said.
There are growing apprehensions among the international community that extremist elements, which are now in direct conflict with the Pakistani government, might take over strategic defence systems of the only Islamic nuclear power.