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Friday, February 3, 2023

Pakistan responds to accidental missile incident by demanding joint probe

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After a missile was fired from India into Pakistan region recently, the Indian Ministry of Defence called it an accident. Pakistan has in turn demanded a joint probe.

According to Pakistan, the incident involving the accidental firing of a missile that ended up in Pakistan indicates many “loopholes and technical lapses” of a serious nature in how India handles strategic weapons. Pakistani authorities have hence called for a joint investigation to “accurately establish the facts” about the incident.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said, “Because the missile landed in Pakistani territory, India’s choice to hold an internal court of  inquiry is insufficient. Pakistan seeks a joint investigation to accurately determine the facts surrounding the event. The gravity of the incident raises several fundamental considerations about security protocols and technology safeguards against accidental or unauthorised missile launches in a nuclearized environment.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stated that they took note of the statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), but that such a serious situation cannot be dealt with the basic explanation supplied by Indian officials.

A day after Pakistan made a detailed presentation claiming that an Indian supersonic surface–to–surface missile landed 124 kilometres inside its territory, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Friday that during routine maintenance on March 9, a “technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” and that the Government of India has taken a “serious view” and ordered a high–level Court of Inquiry.

The incident involving the missile landing in Pakistan is “very unfortunate,” according to the MoD, but it is also a source of satisfaction that no lives were lost.

Pakistan posed a series of questions, claiming that given the “deep level of failure,” India must clarify whether the missile was handled by its “military forces or some rogue elements.”

Pakistan also demanded answers to many issues, including the measures and procedures in place to prevent inadvertent missile launches, the “type and specifications of the missile,” the flight route and trajectory, and how it eventually turned and entered Pakistan.

“Did the missile have a self-destruct mechanism?

“How did it fail to materialise?” it inquired.

In response to the MoFA’s question regarding why India did not immediately notify Pakistan about the inadvertent launch and instead waited until Pakistan disclosed the incident and sought clarification, the MoFA asked, “Does India keeps its missiles ready for launch even under routine maintenance?”

“Given the short distances and response times, any misinterpretation by the other side could lead to countermeasures in self–defence with grave consequences,” the statement said, urging the international community to take serious notice of this “grave nature incident in a nuclearised environment” and play its proper role in promoting strategic stability in the region.

The description provided by Pakistan on the technical characteristics of the missile, which stated that it was travelling at Mach 3 velocity at 40,000 feet and was a surface–to–surface missile, corresponds to the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is in the inventory of all three military Services.

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