In the latest development on the arms race front in the Indian sub-continent, Pakistan has test-fired a ballistic missile that can deliver a nuclear warhead to any part of India, and even as far away as Israel.
The Shaheen-III missile with a range of up to 2,700 kilometres is an updated version of the indigenously produced Shaheen-I and Shaheen-II.
"The test launch was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system at maximum range," Pakistan's military said in a statement after the firing of the missile, believed to be part of the country's deterrence against its neighbour India.
It comes within a week of India's foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar's diplomatic visit to Islamabad.
Scientists and engineers are also said to be working to enhance capabilities of the Shaheen-III that would make it harder to defend against. The missile can at present be fired from mobile launchers, making it hard to detect.
The last display of missile technology on the sub-continent in 2012 saw India test-launch its first intercontinental ballistic missile, with a claimed range of more than 5,000 kilometres.
"Now, India doesn't have its safe havens anymore," Shahid Latif, a retired commander of Pakistan's air force, told the Washington Post. "It's all a reaction to India, which has now gone even for tests of extra-regional missiles ... It sends a loud message: If you hurt us, we are going to hurt you back."
Pakistan and India possess about 100 nuclear warheads each.
Experts see Pakistan's nuclear ambitions as focused solely on India. While India has a no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons, Pakistan has refused to adopt a similar stance, saying it may be forced to use nuclear weapons under invasion by India.