'accidental' Indian missile launch into Pakistan
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“On March 9, at 6:43 pm, a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). …. From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50 pm… It was a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed”.

Pakistan’s ISPR Director General Maj. General Babar Iftikhar

On 9th March 2022, one of the nuclear-armed South Asian states has “accidentally” fired a cruise missile at another nuclear-armed state in South Asia during peacetime. Despite the fact that India and Pakistan have fought wars and engaged in conflicts since 1947 – The scale of distrust is so grave that the pigeons crossing the border from Pakistan into India are captured on espionage suspicion, even then, India’s “callousness and ineptitude” in a “nuclear environment” is responded maturely by Pakistan diffusing the crisis that could have evolved in consequence to this incident.

As pointed out by the National Security Advisor of Pakistan, Mr. Moeed Yusuf, India took more than two days “to accept that this was their missile launched ostensibly due to a technical malfunction during maintenance”. Such handling on part of India has “raised serious questions about India’s ability to handle such sensitive technology” as the “missile traveled close to the path of international and domestic commercial airlines and threatened the safety of civilians”.

Considering the fact that India’s admittance has come after Pakistan’s DGISPR’s press briefing calling for clarification from India on March 10th, 2022, raises serious and genuine questions over how safe nuclear India’s missile program is? Especially, when the emerging discourse is that what hit the ground in the Mian Channu, Khanewal district of Pakistan has reportedly been an air-launched BrahMos Cruise Missile. Nitin A. Gokhale, India’s national security and strategic affairs analyst, an alumnus of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, and popular visiting faculty at India’s Defence Services Staff College has also hinted towards this point in case.

Furthermore, while discussing what could have been the scenario, Chief Executive Officer of Wccftech, Mr. Abdullah Saad also argues if India has “opted to cold-launch the first-strike system into Pakistan without provocation”, in case the launch turns out to be intentional.

Such arguments are based on several factors, including; BrahMos cruise missile trajectory, during maintenance readiness, self-destruct mechanism, and New Delhi’s delayed response, which are technically and theoretically not in line with the Indian claims so far.

Dissatisfied with the response by the Indian Ministry of Defence, Pakistan Foreign Office has also demanded a joint probe to clarify:

  1. The measures and procedures in place to prevent accidental missile launches, in addition to the particular circumstances of this incident.
  2. The type and specification of missile that fell into Pakistani territory.
  3. Accidentally launched missile’s flight path/trajectory, and how it ultimately turned and entered into Pakistan.
  4. Was the missile equipped with self-destruct mechanism? Why did it fail to actualize?
  5. Are the Indian missiles kept primed for launch even under routine maintenance?
  6. Why did India fail to immediately inform Pakistan about the missile’s accidental launch and waited to acknowledge it till after Pakistan announced the incident and sought clarification?
  7. Given the profound level of incompetence, India needs to explain if the missile was indeed handled by its armed forces or some rogue elements?

Given that, the international community has long been concerned over nuclear technology and nuclear missiles falling into the hands of rogue elements – Isn’t this specific incident indicate just equally rogue-actors-like handling of sensitive weapons by India? What is more, is the fact that this is not the first time; On March 1st, 2022, Pakistan Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit intercepted and tracked the latest Kalvari class Indian submarine – The fourth detection in last five years!

Earlier, on February 27th, 2019, Indian defence forces have shot down their own chopper killing dozens amid chaos, and confusion of the Pakistan Air Force attack. In August 2016, MiG29-K of the Indian Air Force has jettisoned its fuel tank on the Indian naval ship INS Dega killing several. Then, on March 10th, 2010, Indian Navy ship, INS Mumbai’s anti-aircraft gun, has mistakenly fired upon sister ship INS Delhi. Nearly, 25 reported cases of Uranium smuggling are also on record.

In addition, other such reported countless incidents are enough evidence for the global hegemons that view India as a regional net security provider, to reconsider the strategic options in the context of Indo Pacific, in particular.

Also, it is noteworthy that no condemnation has been issued by the global hegemons over the incident that could have initiated a full-scale nuclear war if Pakistan has not responded responsibly. A State Department spokesperson told Dawn, “We have no indication that this incident was anything other than an accident.” As concerns Western media, the coverage has stayed confined to stating facts and admittance of mistake by India; there has been little to no condemnation over the event. Even the Chinese state-affiliated media has casually taken the case. This silence by the world capitals and media indeed calls for Pakistan to weigh its options, when it comes to alliances and national security interests in a multipolar world with multi-polar rivalries. As, had it been Pakistan, there would have been calls to forcibly shut down Pakistan’s missile program by declaring it a global danger through state-sponsored media campaigns.

This is not it, considering the international standards with regard to command and control when it comes to arms and ammunition, now what becomes of all such standards that consider it overly dangerous for Iran and North Korea to have nuclear technology but are unable to fathom enough the gradual take-over of India by the extremist RSS-affiliated BJP Government that has now clearly acted just as rogue? This side-taking becomes evident in the general silence of the Western World over an incident that could have led to an escalation in a nuclear-armed region.

Hence, the world needs to determine; how safe is India’s nuclear and non-nuclear technology if governed in the hands of such an irresponsible regime? Pakistan has dealt with this situation, which has all the potential to turn into a crisis, very responsibly and cautiously. But now, who is a ‘rogue state’ here? The one that puts millions of lives at stake by letting an accidental missile launch happen that interferes with airlines’ trajectories or the one that hinders a crisis from erupting?


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