India Reviews Ops after Missile
Accidentally Fired into Pakistan
(March 15, 2022) — India is conducting a review of its procedures for operations, maintenance and inspection of weapons systems after accidentally launching a missile into Pakistan last week, its defence minister says.
“We attach the highest priority to the safety and security of our weapon systems. If any shortcoming is found, it would be immediately rectified,” Rajnath Singh told parliament on Tuesday.
India accidentally released a missile, which landed in Pakistan at about 7pm (13:30 GMT) last Wednesday during routine maintenance and inspection without causing any casualties, he said.
Pakistan has asked for a joint probe into the incident, demanding clarifications from New Delhi over its safety mechanism to prevent accidental missile launches.
Although tensions between the two countries have calmed in recent months, military experts have previously warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by the nuclear-armed archrivals, who have fought three wars.
India has started a high-level inquiry into the accident, which did not lead to any injuries or deaths, Singh said.
“I can assure the House that the missile system is very reliable and safe,” he said, without specifying which missile had been accidentally launched.
“Moreover, our safety procedures and protocols are of the highest order and are reviewed from time to time,” Singh said.
A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign office said it was reviewing the Indian minister’s statement.
“The grave nature of the incident raises several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorised launch of missiles in a nuclearised environment,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
It demanded India release more details and why India failed to immediately inform Pakistan afterward.
Islamabad also urged the international community to help maintain regional stability.
Pakistan’s foreign minister raised the issue with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by telephone on Monday, where he stressed the need for the international community, including the Security Council, to address the situation.
China asked the South Asian neighbours to set up a reporting mechanism to avoid such incidents and share information, said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman of its foreign ministry.
“Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia, bearing responsibilities for maintaining regional security and stability,” he told reporters on Monday.
Earlier, Major General Babar Iftikhar said Pakistan’s air force tracked the missile from its launch and throughout its three-minute flight in Pakistan’s airspace. He protested the “flagrant violation” and demanded an explanation from India, saying civilians could have been endangered.
Two days after the launch, India’s defence ministry said the missile was fired by accident due to a technical malfunction during routine maintenance.
“While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident,” India said last week.
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