Pakistan has successfully carried out a test of its first submarine-launched cruise missile that is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, the military says, just weeks after neighboring India also carried out a test of a nuclear-capable missile.
The launch of the nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile was carried out from an “underwater, mobile platform” at an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. It struck its intended target a short time later with “precise accuracy,” according to the military.
The media relations wing of the military released a 30-second video clip that showed the test-firing of the missile, which has a range of approximately 450 kilometers (280 miles). The test was witnessed by a number of senior Pakistani officials.
“Babur-3 SLCM incorporates state of the art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features,” the military said in a statement. “The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defenses, in addition to certain stealth technologies.”
The military added that the missile, which is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads, provides Pakistan with a “credible” capability to respond to a nuclear attack. It said such capabilities are a “measured response” to nuclear strategies in the region, a reference to its arch-foe India.
Since independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, Pakistan and its neighbor India have fought four wars, including one undeclared war, as well as numerous border skirmishes and military stand-offs. The two countries were on the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, but a ceasefire was agreed to in 2003 although violations still occur.
Both nations view its missile development as a deterrent against each other. Just last month, India test-fired a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead with a range of more than 6,000 kilometers (3,730 miles). While unrelated, that test came just days after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called for the United States to “strengthen and expand its nuclear capability”.
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