Pakistan on Monday completed its nuclear triad after successfully test-firing a submarine-launched cruise missile, catapulting it into the small group of nations capable of delivering nuclear strikes from land, air and underwater.
According to the statement released by Inter Services Public Relations, the “Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3, having a range of 450 kilometers,” was fired from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean. “The missile was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy.
Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile Babur-2, which was successfully tested earlier in December, last year. Babur-3 SLCM in land-attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence," the agency said.
"While the pursuit, and now the successful attainment of a second strike capability, by Pakistan represents a major scientific milestone, it is manifestation of the strategy of measured response to nuclear strategies and postures being adopted in it’s neighborhood,” the report said. While the ISPR release did not disclose the platform used, reports suggest that Pakistan Navy modified its French Agosta 90B class submarines to launch the missile.
The Pakistani test comes soon after India tested its Agni IV and V series of missiles earlier this month, sparking a warning from Pakistan’s long-term ally, China. In an acerbic January 4 editorial, the state-owned Global Times warned that ‘India has broken the UN's limits on its development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile,’ adding: ''If the UNSC has no objection over this, let it be. The range of Pakistan's nuclear missiles will also see an increase.''
A Pakistani journalist gloated that the test would bring the two nations “at par” and ensure it could attack India even if its land based missiles were taken out. An Indian official, however, shrugged off the claims, saying India’s tests, unlike Islamabad, were not aimed at any particular nation and were for defence.