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Pak test-fires 1st nuke-capable submarine cruise missile

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Pakistan's Babur SLCM being test fired on Monday. An ISPR photo

ISLAMABAD (PTI): Pakistan has successfully test-fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 450 kms, with the military saying the strategic weapon has given the country a "credible" second-strike capability and augmenting deterrence amidst tensions with India.

The missile, Babur-3, was fired from an underwater, mobile platform from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean on Monday and hit its target with precise accuracy, the Inter Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistani military, said in a statement.

Babur-3, which has a range of 450 km, is a sea-based variant of the ground launched cruise missile (GLCM) Babur-2, which was successfully tested earlier in December, last year.

The 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 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, the release said.

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 statement 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 Pakistan's neighbourhood, it said, in an obvious reference to India.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has congratulated the nation and the military on the first successful test-fire of the SLCM, his office said in a statement.

"The successful test of Babur-3 is a manifestation of Pakistan's technological progress and self-reliance," according to the statement.

Sharif further said that Pakistan always maintains a policy of peaceful co-existence but this test is a step towards reinforcing the policy of credible minimum deterrence.

The test was witnessed by the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Director General of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Lieutenant General Mazhar Jamil, Commander Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC), senior officials, scientists and engineers from Scientific Strategic Organizations.

The CJCSC and three services chiefs congratulated all the officials involved, on achieving this highly significant milestone.

Gen. Hayat also highlighted that successful test-fire of SLCM also demonstrates confidence on our scientists and engineers in fostering the technological prowess, through indigenisation and self-reliance.

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