New Delhi: Pakistan Wednesday carried out a ‘training’ launch of its nuclear-capable ballistic missile Shaheen-II, on a day when Narendra Modi stormed back to power in India.
Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the Pakistani military’s PR chief, tweeted a video of the launch saying the missile, which has a range of 1,500 km, meets Pakistan’s strategic need towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region.
Successful training launch of surface to surface ballistic missile Shaheen-II conducted. Capable of carrying both conventional & nuclear warheads upto a range of 1500 KMs. Shaheen-II fully meets Pak’s strat needs towards maintenance of desired deterrence stability in the region. pic.twitter.com/I9t468wxnq
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) May 23, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan, meanwhile, also extended his congratulations for the “achievement”.
Signal to India’s new govt
The test is being seen by many in the Indian defence and security establishment as a signal to India’s new government on counting day.
“Pakistan’s testing of the 1,500 km ballistic missile on the day of counting of votes in India’s general election is not an event to be ignored,” Lt Gen. Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), the former chief of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, told ThePrint.
“It’s not even subtle. It’s actually a communication to India and its leadership that Pakistan cannot be taken as a pushover neighbour, and has all the means to hurt India if India chooses to hurt it.”
Hasnain said in the context of the tension of the last three months, Wednesday’s test is enough indication to show that nothing has changed and India continues to face a wily neighbour who will not stop at anything in its intent to bleed India.
Experts also feel that the Pakistan Army is trying to raise the nuclear bogey again.
“This test by Pakistan is nothing but a multidimensional messaging. One, to its own citizens, that there is nothing to worry because the Pakistan Army will look after security,” said Maj. Gen. S.P. Sinha (retd).
Sinha said Pakistan wanted to send a message to the new government that it is not scared and it will be business as usual.
Interestingly, the top stories on various Pakistani media websites are about Modi returning to power.
IAF’s BrahMos test
The test by Pakistan comes a day after the Indian Air Force successfully test fired the air-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from its frontline Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft.
The IAF is the first air force in the world to have successfully fired an air-launched 2.8 Mach surface attack missile of this category, which has a range of over 300 km.
Lt Gen. Satish Dua (retd), former chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, one of the key players behind the 2016 surgical strikes, said that more than the elections, the test is in response to this test, as well as India’s launch of a spy satellite Wednesday.
“The test is for its own constituency to keep up the muscular image,” Dua said.