Less than one week after India successfully tested the nuclear-capable Agni-V missile, Pakistan has notified its neighbor that it too will conduct a “long-range missile test in the Indian Ocean” sometime between April 24 and April 29.
According to a report in The Deccan Chronicle, an English language newspaper in India, Pakistan officials requested India’s civil aviation authorities to issue a notice and warning to commercial airlines and pilots to avoid the area of the intended tests.
Pakistan also told India that Oman and Yemen have already been notified of the planned test and have instructed their airlines accordingly.
Air travel between India and the Persian Gulf will likely have to be postponed or re-routed during that period.
The communications from Pakistan always come in the last minute, mostly just a day in advance. Airlines have to be informed immediately,” an Indian source told the Deccan.
The paper indicated that Pakistan’s ‘Shaheen’ long-range missile program is seeking to develop a maximum range of up to 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) – meaning such weapons would have the ability to strike anywhere in India.
Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapons in May 1998.
Separately, Pakistan is also deepening its military and defense ties with China.
The Express Tribune newspaper reported that Pakistani Navy has commissioned the PNS Azmat, the country’s first fast-attack craft that will be prepared to defend the security of its territorial waters.
The chief of Pakistan’s Navy, Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, attended the commissioning ceremony at the Xingang Shipyard in Tianjin, China.
The vessel features state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including surface-to-surface missiles.
“Its immense firepower coupled with stealthy features makes it a real versatile platform which would not only prove vital for ensuring effective presence in our area of operations, but would bring a new dimension of operation of stealthy platform of this tonnage,” Sandila said in a statement.
Sandila added that another fast-attack craft will be constructed at the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works in Pakistan by the end of this year.
The naval chief hailed the new vessel as a milestone in Chinese-Pakistani defense cooperation.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.