Pakistan has conducted a test of its nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), Babur, which has a range of 450 km, with the country’s military saying the weapon system provides it a “credible second strike capability”. Pakistan has been working hard on developing this capability — to carry out a retaliatory nuclear strike even after an enemy’s nuclear attack destroys or neutralises its land-based nuclear arsenal — which India already has.
There was no official word on the development from India’s defence ministry or the military.
India, which has a no-first-use policy for its nuclear arsenal, began working on second strike capability soon after its nuclear tests in 1998. It has completed its nuclear triad and has the capability to launch strategic weapons from land, air, and sea.
Without naming India, the Pakistan military also sought to blame New Delhi for disturbing the strategic balance in the region by acquiring nuclear submarines and nuclear-capable missiles.
The development of second strike capability “reflects Pakistan’s response to provocative nuclear strategies and posture being pursued in the neighbourhood through induction of nuclear submarines and ship-borne nuclear missiles, leading to nuclearisation of Indian Ocean region,” the statement said.
The Babur missile was fired “from an underwater dynamic platform” and “successfully engaged its target with precise accuracy, meeting all the flight parameters”, the statement said.
This is only the second time that Pakistan has announced a test of the submarine-launched Babur-III missile, with the first test being conducted in January 2017. During the first test, the Babur-III was launched from an unidentified “underwater mobile platform”.
The Babur-III is the naval variant of the land-based Babur-II, which was tested in December 2016.