A day after India successfully test-fired its 290-km-range (180-mi.) BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and put into operation the second tranche of the weapon system, Pakistan on March 5 tested a nuclear-capable short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

BrahMos has the capability of attacking surface targets by flying as low as 10 meters (33 ft.) above the ground. It can reach a speed of Mach 2.8. On the other side, Pakistan’s Hatf-2 missile can travel up to 180 km and deliver nuclear as well as conventional warheads with high accuracy.

“The Indian army unit successfully launched [the] BrahMos missile and destroyed the preselected target in the field firing ranges in Rajasthan on Sunday,” an Indian army spokesman says.

The missile will help provide India a swift strike capability along the border with rival Pakistan.

“In conformity and pursuit of operational and strategic surface-to-surface missile capability development, the second BrahMos unit of Army has been operationalized somewhere in western sector,” the spokesman adds.

The BrahMos, named after two rivers, the Brahmaputra in India and Moskva in Russia, has been developed as a joint venture between India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia of Russia, under BrahMos Aerospace.

Meanwhile, a statement from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations says the test of Hatf-2 is part of the process of validation of a land-based ballistic missile system.

“The test provides an operational level capability to Pakistan’s strategic forces, in addition to the strategic and technical level capability which Pakistan already possesses,” the military says.

Pakistan successfully test-fired another short-range surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile, Nasr, in April 2011. Nasr, which also belongs to the Hatf series, can hit targets up to 60 km away. Barely two months before that, Islamabad tested the nuclear-capable Hatf-VII cruise missile that has a range of 600 km.