Pakistan on Saturday took notice of the clarification by the Indian Press Bureau’s Defence Wing regretting the “accidental firing” of the Indian origin missile into Pakistani territory and demanded a “joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident.”
On Friday, India said it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan because of a “technical malfunction” and announced to hold an internal court of inquiry.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the grave nature of the incident raised several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against the “accidental or unauthorised launch of missiles in a nuclearised environment.”
“Such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities,” the FO statement read.
The ministry said some of the questions that need to be answered include:
- India must explain the measures and procedures in place to prevent accidental missile launches and the particular circumstances of this incident.
- India needs to clearly explain the type and specifications of the missile that fell in Pakistani territory.
- India also needs to explain the flight path/ trajectory of the accidentally launched missile and how it ultimately turned and entered Pakistan?
- Was the missile equipped with self-destruct mechanism? Why did it fail to actualise?
- Are Indian missiles kept primed for launch even under routine maintenance?
- Why did India fail to immediately inform Pakistan about the accidental launch of the missile and waited to acknowledge it till after Pakistan announced the incident and sought clarification?
- Given the profound level of incompetence, India needs to explain if the missile was indeed handled by its armed forces or some rogue elements?
“The whole incident indicates many loopholes and technical lapses of serious nature in Indian handling of strategic weapons,” it said, adding that the Indian decision to hold an internal court of inquiry is “not sufficient since the missile ended up in Pakistani territory.”
The ministry further said that given the short distances and response times, any misinterpretation by the other side could lead to countermeasures in self-defence with grave consequences.
“Pakistan, therefore, calls upon the international community to take serious notice of this incident of grave nature in a nuclearised environment and play its due role in promoting strategic stability in the region,” the statement read.
THE PROJECTILE: Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar revealed on Thursday that an Indian projectile had entered the Pakistani airspace and fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district, causing some damage to the surrounding areas.
The DG ISPR said: “At 6:43pm [on Wednesday], a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the Air Defence Operation Centre of the Pakistan Airforce.”
“From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards the Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace [before] ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50pm.”
He said that when the projectile fell, it damaged some civilian property. “Thankfully, no loss or injury to human life was caused.”
A Pakistan air force official said the object travelled at an altitude of 40,000 feet, at Mach 3, and flew 124 kilometres (77 miles) in Pakistani airspace before crashing.