The Pakistan Army has successfully tested a Ghaznavi missile, according to the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) department. The news comes as concerns about war with India over Kashmir continue.
The ISPR tweeted that the army conducted a “night training launch” of the Ghaznavi missile, adding that it’s “capable of delivering multiple types of warheads upto [sic] 290 KMs.” The tweet included a video of the ballistic missile test:
Pakistan successfully carried out night training launch of surface to surface ballistic missile Ghaznavi, capable of delivering multiple types of warheads upto 290 KMs. CJCSC & Services Chiefs congrat team. President & PM conveyed appreciation to team & congrats to the nation. pic.twitter.com/hmoUKRPWev
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 29, 2019
The Week points out that a weapons test had been expected since Islamabad issued a notice to airman on Wednesday to close three air routes over Karachi. A major missile test facility is located there. According to Dunya News, the Pakistan Army has owned Ghaznavi missiles since 2004. They are hypersonic surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles.
The Times of India reports that New Delhi said today that it was aware of Islamabad’s missile tests, which were believed to have been conducted at the Sonmiani test range in Balochistan. Indian officials said Pakistan informed them about the test under the confidence-building measures between the two countries.
What is the Ghaznavi missile?
The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) describes the Ghaznavi missile as “a short range ballistic missile with a range of 250lm.” It’s capable of carrying either nuclear or conventional warheads weighing up to 500 kilograms. Pakistan designed the missile, which is also designated as the Hatf-3 by the U.S. “Hatf” is Arabic for “deadly.”
The Ghaznavi missile was derived from the M-11 missile Pakistan imported from China in the early 1990s. Although the missile has a shorter range than the Pakistan Army’s other ballistic missiles, one advantage is that it can be easily transported by land and launched from other places.
The alliance adds that while the Ghaznavi “does not have the long range of the Shaheen or the Ghauri missile, but it would be capable [of] striking into Indian territory.” It also states that the missile “contributes to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence against India.” “The road-mobile missile would help the Pakistani military force from being neutralized by a preemptive or first strike” because it can be hard to find.
“Theoretically, the Ghaznavi could be deployed against conventional Indian forces if there was a confrontation,” the MDAA added.
Pakistan seeks allies in Kashmir issue
NDTV notes that the Pakistan Army’s missile test comes as Islamabad tries to solicit ally countries in the Kashmir issue against India. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said they will go to any measure to address the issue. His remarks suggest the nuclear option may not be entirely off the table, and the missile test provides further evidence of this since it is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that the situation in Kashmir appears to be far from getting back to normal, despite what the Indian government has repeatedly been telling the rest of the world. Srinagar officials report that thousands of people have been detained, and Kashmiris are contending with movement restrictions and tear gas and pellet guns being used against them. Most of those who have been detained are being held under the controversial Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, which allows officials to hold them without trial or charge for up to two years. It’s unclear how many Kashmiris are still detained.