Pakistan on Monday test-fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and giving the country a credible second strike capability, the military said.
The missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy, it said in a statement.
A military spokesman confirmed to AFP the missile, with a range of 450 km (280 miles), could carry a nuclear warhead.
“Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested earlier in December, last year,” the statement said.
“Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step toward reinforcing the policy of credible minimum deterrence.”
Pakistan and neighbouring India — which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 — have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated a nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
Both countries can already launch surface-to-surface ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear or conventional warheads.
Tension between the two countries has been high since a deadly attack on an Indian army base in the disputed region of Kashmir in September, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The military said the Babur-3 SLCM, in a land-attack mode, was capable of delivering various types of payloads.
It would “provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence”.