Pakistan's new short-range nuclear-capable Hatf-9 missile is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start military doctrine that envisages quick thrusts by small integrated battle groups in the event of hostilities, experts and analysts here have claimed.
The Hatf-9 or Nasr, described as a missile with a range of 60 km and designed to carry "nuclear warheads of appropriate yield with high accuracy", was tested for the first time at an undisclosed location on Tuesday.
The missile will be deployed with a mobile multi-barrel launch system that has "shoot and scoot attributes", or the ability to fire at a target and immediately relocate to another position to avoid enemy counter-fire.
The new system is primarily aimed at deterring India's Cold Start doctrine, for which the Indian army has created integrated battle groups comprising infantry and mechanised elements that could be quickly mobilised and used for launching rapid thrusts into Pakistani territory in the event of hostilities, claimed an analyst who did not want to be named.
The Hatf-9 missile system is a tactical nuclear weapons and "low-yield battlefield deterrent" capable of inflicting damage on mechanised forces such as armed brigades and divisions, military sources told The Express Tribune newspaper.
With the development of the Hatf-9's shoot and scoot capability, "Indian planners will now be deterred from considering options of limited war", the military sources said.
The development of the Hatf-9 is also being seen as a major achievement in terms of miniaturisation of nuclear warheads, the daily reported.
Another analyst, who did not want to be named, told PTI that weapons like the Hatf-9 missile will limit the space for "limited war under a nuclear umbrella".
However, the analyst noted that the military may have to use such a system within Pakistani territory in the event of an Indian thrust and this could have adverse consequences, such as nuclear fallout or the radiation hazard from an atomic blast.
In a statement issued after Tuesday's test, the Pakistani military said the Hatf-9 had been developed to "add deterrence value to Pakistan's strategic weapons development programme at shorter ranges".