India tests ‘K-4’ SLBM missile, unlikely to upset regional BOP as Pakistan already possesses ‘second strike’ capability

India has tested a nuclear capable submarine launched missile in order to demonstrate its second-strike nuclear capability. However, the test is unlikely to give India an edge in the regional balance of power as Pakistan, which shares a 3323 KM border with India, already possesses 'second strike capability' in case of a nuclear conflict. Pakistan's parable to India's K-4 is its 'Hatf V-II' or 'Babur-3'. One thing is certain; this 'chest-thumping' overt show of power will surely increase the temperature in the 'nuclear flashpoint' region.

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India has tested its K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead off its southeastern coast. The launch reportedly went smoothly, and saw the missile being fired off a submerged platform.

However, the test is unlikely to give India an edge in the regional balance of power as Pakistan, which shares a 3323 KM border with India, already possesses ‘second strike capability’ in case of a nuclear conflict.

Pakistan’s parable to India’s K-4 is its ‘Hatf V-II’ or ‘Babur-3’, a nuclear-capable Submarine-Launched Cruise missile (SLCM) with ‘MIRV’ capabilty. Pakistan successfully tested this technology more than two years ago.

India’s K-4 missile, is set to equip India’s first indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Arihant, reportedly flew 2,200km after it blasted off from a “submerged pontoon” in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Visakhapatnam on Sunday afternoon. Local media, citing unnamed official sources, said the launch from a platform simulates the situation of a launch from a submarine.

The existence of this capability raises the stakes in a potential nuclear conflict, making it less likely and the overall security situation more stable

The state-of-the-art weapon, which is set to boost India’s nuclear deterrent once the trials are over, has already gone through several tests, but it was the first time the missile covered such a long distance, a source said, as cited by the Times of India.

“Though K-4 has been tested a few times before, this was the first time it was fired for a long-range,” they said.

Although New Delhi for the moment remains tight-lipped about the launch, official sources told the Hindu that the Sunday test apparently went off without a hitch and “met all desired parameters.”

Currently, the INS Arihant is armed with 12 nuclear-capable K-15 ballistic missiles, but once the K-4 becomes operational, the submarine will be able to carry four of India’s most potent home-made ballistic missiles.

Read more: Pakistan’s First Indigenously Designed Fast Attack Craft Missile

“The Arihant provides India a guaranteed second-strike capability in the case of a nuclear attack scenario,” Dr. Shishir Upadhyaya, a former Indian Naval Intelligence officer, told RT in December. The existence of this capability raises the stakes in a potential nuclear conflict, making it less likely and the overall security situation more stable.

RT with additional input from GVS News Desk (Rai Mustafa Bhatti)

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