Pakistan has successfully conducted the first flight test of the newly developed Short Range Surface-to-Surface Multi Tube Ballistic Missile Hatf IX (Nasr), much to the chagrin of Indian defence planners, as is evident from the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) report titled Pakistan: Making Sense Of Nasr Ballistic Missile Test Analysis. The IDSA report tries to nullify the analysis by the Pakistani experts. Undoubtedly, Nasr has been developed to add deterrence value to Pakistans Strategic Weapons Development programme at shorter ranges. With a range of 60km, Nasr carries both tactical nuclear and high-explosive conventional warheads. It is powered by a high-thrust, single-stage solid-propellant rocket motor. Nasrs launch platform is a double-tube transporter erector launcher (TEL) capable of carrying two missiles with high accuracy and shoot-and-scoot attributes. This quick response system addresses the need to deter evolving threats. The test of Nasr is a very important milestone in consolidating Pakistans strategic deterrence capability at all levels of the threat spectrum. This is a new and very significant development because this latest missile system is in the category of tactical nuclear weapons. It is a low yield battlefield deterrent, which is capable of deterring and inflicting punishment on mechanised forces comprising armoured brigades and divisions. This was made possible because of miniaturisations to smallest level and it forecloses the Indian armys options of Cold Start and proactive operations. The Indian military used to perceive gaps in the Pakistani side and was obsessed with finding space for limited war under the nuclear umbrella. Thus, it was amassing conventional weapons and had developed its Cold Start doctrine to be able to deal Pakistan a telling blow before it could retaliate with its nuclear weapons. India has been testing its Cold Start doctrine in various war games and military exercises, including the current corps level exercise Vijayi Bhav, in the Rajasthan desert and, at the same time, has been browbeating Pakistan. However, Nasr or help, which is also the title of one of the Quranic verses, will ably plug that gap and ensure that India is deterred from any such adventurism. With the development of Nasr, Indian planners will now think twice before considering options of limited war. Often the Indians start beating their chests and crying hoarse with their battle cries prematurely. In May 1998 too after conducting nuclear tests at Pokhran, the Indian defence planners and politicians were so convinced that Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons capability that they became ballistic with their threats and jingoism, forcing Pakistans hand in crossing the nuclear threshold and coming out of the closet. Having learnt no lessons, ex-Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor had announced: The time has come for teaching Pakistan a lesson. The General had been blinded by the so-called success of the Indian war games testing Cold Start, and thus he had broken into rhetoric.A few details of Nasr, gleaned from overt sources; it is akin to a guided artillery shell in the form of surface-to-surface missile (SSM). The Soviets had developed and used various types of such missiles, as a propellant and heavily fortified fixed installation target clearance weapon system in the battlefield. Nasr, however, can successfully target armoured and mechanised columns on the move with nearly pinpoint accuracy. Judging from the test flight video released, Nasr appears to follow a depressed trajectory, rather than typical ballistic trajectory that makes a lethal combination, when married to high manoeuvrability, high speed and short range; which will cause nightmares and throw a challenge to any anti-ballistic missile system. Comparing Nasr to the earlier versions of Hatf 1B and Hatf 1A, Nasr appears to be more stabilised in its flight. The use of terminal guidance enables the Nasr to be projected, as a quick response precision guided ballistic missile with extremely low circular error of probability (CEP) to take the heavily defended targets in a 60km radius. Its quick reaction time, low CEP, terminal guidance and lethal warhead make it far superior to a simple, unguided, multi-barrel rocket launcher system. The test fire and diameter of the warhead suggest that Pakistan has achieved the capability of deploying sub-kiloton yield tactical nuclear warhead appropriate for a sub-kiloton nuclear detonation, which if boosted with four to five gms of tritium, could yield a 10 to 20 KT nuclear detonation. When produced in bulk, it will wreak havoc in any battlefield scenario, penetrating the fog of war and striking a telling blow upon any belligerent. The writer is a political and defence analyst.