WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department expressed regret Wednesday over the decisions of India and Pakistan to risk furthering an arms race in South Asia by testing ballistic missiles capable of reaching deep into each other's territory.

Spokesman James P. Rubin commented hours after Pakistan test fired its Ghauri II missile just three days after India's test of the Agni II missile. The two missiles have about the same range and payload capacity.

``Although new sanctions are not triggered by these tests, existing sanctions do remain in place,'' Rubin said.

He said the United States has always urged both India and Pakistan to exercise all possible restraint, and he repeated that plea on Wednesday.

Absent these indications, missile tests ``can only deepen concern about the direction of security policy in the region by the governments and could put at risk promising developments between the two countries and their neighbors,'' Rubin said.