Islamabad: Pakistan said Tuesday that it had successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable cruise missile, dubbed the Babur (Hatf 7). The missile has a range of 700 kilometres (440 miles), a defence ministry spokesman said.
Pakistan previously tested the missile in March and July this year. An earlier version, first test fired in 2005, had a range of 500 kilometres.
Pakistan did not say if it had informed New Delhi in advance about the latest test. Both countries have an agreement to notify each other about tests of ballistic missiles but this does not extend to cruise missiles.
The missile test comes on the back of successful tests of an anti-ballistic missile defence system carried out by India over the previous week, which catapults the country into the league of only four nations in the world, the US, Russia, France and Israel that boast of such capabilities.
Over the decades the two countries have made it a habit to conduct tit-for-tat tests in the missile and nuclear fields.
Nirbhay - India's subsonic version
Meanwhile, after developing a unique supersonic cruise missile, the BrahMos, in conjunction with Russia, India announced mid-October that it would now develop a subsonic cruise missile. Dubbed as 'Nirbhay' (Fearless), the cruise missile will be terrain-hugging, capable of avoiding detection by ground-based radars.
Nirbhay will have a range of 1,000km, and travel at 0.7 mach (nearly 840kmph). It will be capable of delivering 24 different types of warheads. This compares to the Pakistani Babur's (Hatf 7) range of 500 to 700km.
The US Tomahawk, of which the Pakistani Babur is a re-engineered copy, has many versions, the latest of which has a range in excess of 1,500km.
Nirbhay will become India's seventh missile development project after the Agni series, the Prithvi series, Brahmos (in a joint venture with Russia), Akash, Trishul and Nag.