Fears of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan remains high as the two nations both continue to bolster their military forces. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) tested their nuclear-capable Ra’ad II cruise missile successfully on Tuesday and released footage of the event. The missile is reported to have an extended range of 600km (373 miles) and successfully hit its designated target during the test.
A PAF Mirage III jet fired the Ra’ad missile and video footage captured the moment the rocket detached from the aircraft, started its engine and struck its target.
Pakistan’s military Inter-Services Public relations (ISPR) said the cruise missile is furnished with “state of the art guidance and navigation systems ensuring the engagement of targets with high precision.”
The addition of increased range to the missile is expected to cause concern in India as tensions between Pakistan and India remain high over the Kashmir border issue.
The increase of range to the Ra’ad missile would allow the missile to be launched within Pakistan’s territory while being able to hit critical targets in India.
New Delhi is roughly 430 kilometres from Lahore making it a viable target for attack.
Senior fellow at the Centre for International Strategic Studies in Islamabad Mansoor Ahmed warned Pakistan may be bolstering its military capabilities to keep up with India’s modernisations, like the Nirbhay missile.
Mr Ahmed, who specialises in Pakistan’s nuclear program and its delivery platforms said: “Ra’ad will significantly enhance the operational and targeting flexibility of the air leg of Pakistan’s strategic forces.
“It gives an enhanced capability for precision strikes against critical military targets on land and at sea from safer standoff ranges.
“With it’s extended range forces and assets can now be taken out with greater precision, targets that were previously only covered by Pakistan’s ballistic missiles are now within striking distance.”
The Kashmir crisis was triggered after a terror attack by a suicide bomber on an Indian military convoy in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama.
The attack killed more than 40 people, with India claiming that Pakistan was behind the strike.
In the ensuing military standoff, both nuclear-armed countries launched air raids on each other’s territory, resulting in an Indian fighter jet being shot down.
Tensions were diffused when Pakistan returned the pilot of the shot down jet to India, but frequent military skirmishes continue to plague the region.