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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Pakistan has every right to develop its own missile program provided that it complies with relevant international obligations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, commenting on Islamabad’s latest launch.
“Countries that develop their missile programs should act in accordance with relevant international obligations. We do not see any obstacles for Pakistan to develop its missile program,” Ryabkov said.
The diplomat recalled that there were certain export control regimes and other obligations as part of international treaties.
“We are against measures that could lead to an escalation of the situation, including in such a sensitive region as South Asia, but in this case we believe that every state has a sovereign right to take care of its own security,” he added.
On Thursday, Pakistan conducted a successful test launch of the Shaheen-II surface-to-surface ballistic missile, which is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, according to the Pakistani Armed Forces’ spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor.
Pakistan’s test launch follows the recent escalation of tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi, two nuclear-armed rivals, in which the sides exchanged a series of airstrikes in the disputed Kashmir region. The new standoff broke out in the region in the wake of a deadly attack on Indian military personnel in Kashmir on February 14, claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist group.
Both India and Pakistan are de facto nuclear powers since they conducted their first nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998 respectively. The countries, however, are not parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.