Pakistan’s Hatf-VII (Babur) missile takes off during a test from an undisclosed location on 11 December 2007. (Photo: Reuters)
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Experts, Govt Sources Question Pakistan’s Babur-3 Missile Launch

A day after Pakistan claimed to have fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile, top Navy sources told NDTV that the launch video may be fake.

Along with the information of the launch, Pakistan also put out a video that showed the missile exiting the water after apparently being launched from a submarine, cruising towards and then striking its target.

Apparently, two missiles, not one, are seen in the video; one missile that emerges from the water is grey and another shown in a subsequent shot is orange.

Indian Navy sources told NDTV that no missile test took place off the coast of Pakistan on Monday.

The video may have older footage, they say. The Navy also said that the integration of the missile with Pakistan fleet of Agosta 90B submarine is unlikely to have taken place.

Satellite Analyst Questions Missile Launch

Some reports on Tuesday suggested that Pakistan might have released morphed launch video. A satellite image analyst based in Pathankot put out technical evidence on Twitter suggesting that Pakistan has faked the missile video.

The analyst claimed that Pakistan used a computer-generated image of a missile over the background to show that Babur-3 was successful.

Pakistan’s Claims

Pakistan claimed to have fired its first submarine-launched cruise missile on Monday, the military said. This is a show of force for a country that sees its missile development as a deterrent against India.

The launch of the nuclear-capable Babur-3 missile, which has a range of 450 km and was fired from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean, is likely to heighten its tensions with India.

Both countries have been developing missiles of varying ranges 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 in a statement.

An Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the Pakistani missile test.

India successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched missile in 2008 and tested a submarine-launched cruise missile in 2013.

About Babur-3

The Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of the ground-launched Babur-2 missile, which was tested in December.

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 spokesperson later confirmed the language meant the missile was equipped to carry nuclear warheads.

Its features include “underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation” according to the military.

In 2016, Pakistan had said it was “seriously concerned” by India’s test of anti-ballistic missiles which, according to media reports, could intercept incoming nuclear weapons.

Media had reported that on 15 May, India tested a locally designed Anti-Ballistic Missile system which could in theory intercept a nuclear-carrying ballistic missile.

(With inputs from Reuters and NDTV.)