ISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - Pakistan fired its first submarine- launched cruise missile yesterday, the military said, a show of force for a country that sees its missile development as a deterrent against arch-foe India.
The launch of the nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450km and was fired from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, is likely to heighten tension between India and Pakistan.
The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. Both have been developing missiles of varying range since they conducted nuclear tests in May 1998.
"Pakistan eyes this hallmark development as a step towards reinforcing the policy of credible minimum deterrence," the military's media wing said.
India successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched missile in 2008 and tested a submarine-launched cruise missile in 2013.
The Pakistani military said the Babur-3 missile was "capable of delivering various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a credible second strike capability, augmenting deterrence". An army spokesman later confirmed that the language meant the missile was equipped to carry nuclear warheads.
The military said the missile had features such as "underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation".
Pakistan last year said it was "seriously concerned" about India's test of anti-ballistic missiles which media reports said could intercept incoming nuclear weapons.
According to media reports last May 15, India had tested a locally designed anti-ballistic missile system which could, in theory, intercept a nuclear-carrying ballistic missile.