ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday attained the credible ‘second strike capability’ as it successfully test-fired nuclear capable submarine-laun­ched cruise missile (SLCM) Babur-III.

“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 Pakistan’s neighborhood,” the military said after the test.

The 450km range Babur-III, a sea-based variant of Babur-II — a ground launched missile — was test-fired from a mobile platform in the Indian Ocean to hit a land-based target at an undisclosed location.

The land-attack mode Babur-III is said to be capable of delivering various types of payloads. The successful test, analysts say, would help stabilise the deterrence that had been strained because of India’s sea-based missiles K-4, K-15, Dhanush and Brahmos, which has got land, air and sea versions.

Meanwhile, India is developing another sea-based missile Nirbhay. Babur-III being a cruise missile, analysts believe, is better than the Indian sea-based ballistic missiles.

“Babur-3 SLCM incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by global navigation, terrain and scene matching systems,” the military said while sharing the features of the new missile.

“The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences, in addition to certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment,” it added.

The reference to Indian BMD shows that the missile is designed to defeat India’s planned defence missile shield. Pakistani officials had criticised India for nuclearisation of Indian Ocean.

Defending Babur-III’s test, they say, Pakistan had been compelled to go in that direction because of India’s unrestrained behaviour and for maintaining the credibility of its deterrence.

In fielding a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, Pakistan would now face two major challenges — attaining operational stealth capability for its submarines and ensuring reliability and survivability of communications with the submarines carrying the cruise missiles during war and the eventuality of a first strike by an adversary.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2017

Opinion

Lull before the storm
Updated 24 Oct 2021

Lull before the storm

It does not take rocket science to figure out why each of the two sides is taking the stand it is.
The larger debate
Updated 23 Oct 2021

The larger debate

The revelations show how the economy promotes inequality.

Editorial

Anti-government rallies
Updated 24 Oct 2021

Anti-government rallies

Banning a party because it can create a public nuisance sets a dangerous precedent which can be repeated to justify future bans.
24 Oct 2021

End of polio?

AFTER a long struggle, the reward is finally in sight. With only a single case of wild poliovirus reported this year...
24 Oct 2021

Heritage work

IT is encouraging that, slowly, projects of heritage conservation and preservation appear to be taking off. These...
A final push
Updated 23 Oct 2021

A final push

PAKISTAN’S hopes of exiting the so-called FATF grey list have been shattered once again. The global money...
23 Oct 2021

Kabul visit

FOREIGN MINISTER Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s flying visit to Kabul on Thursday is the first official high-level...
23 Oct 2021

Baqir’s blooper

THE remarks made by State Bank governor Reza Baqir at a London press conference have hit a raw nerve in Pakistan. In...