x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pakistan tests missiles in Arabian Sea

Pakistan's navy test-fires a series of missiles and torpedoes in what it called a message to "nefarious" forces - an apparent reference to long-time rival India.

ISLAMABAD // Pakistan's navy successfully test-fired a series of missiles and torpedoes today in what it called a message to "nefarious" forces - an apparent reference to long-time rival India. While the two nuclear-armed neighbours have taken slow steps toward restarting peace talks, they also have a history of using weapons tests as a form of diplomatic sabre-rattling. The tests occurred in the Arabian Sea and employed various aircraft, submarines and ships. It was not immediately clear if the missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Both countries regularly test their missile systems, and usually notify each other ahead of such launches in keeping with a diplomatic agreement.

But today's launches were followed by a navy statement saying: "These successful tests are a clear message to forces having nefarious designs." Such statements have been rare in recent years, as the two nations have struggled to keep their peace process limping along. Late last month, India and Pakistan held their first official talks since the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, which India blamed on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

It was not clear whether the statement was an intentional attempt to stir the diplomatic waters, but similar wording has been used in the past to send warnings to New Delhi. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two sides began talks aimed at resolving their differences over the Himalayan region of Kashmir and other disputes in 2004. India put the peace process on hold soon after the Mumbai attacks.

* AP