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Pakistan test-fires first nuclear-capable submarine cruise missile

Pakistan test-fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and giving the country a credible second strike capability, the military said.

The missile was fired on Monday from an underwater mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy, 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 India which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, it is further said to 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”.

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