New Delhi: Ramping up its reaction to India accidently firing a missile that landed on its soil, Pakistan Saturday sought a joint inquiry and asked New Delhi to explain “if the missile was indeed handled by its armed forces or some rogue elements”.
The statement by the Pakistan Foreign Office came a day after India confirmed that a missile had entered Pakistan from India Wednesday due to “accidental firing” caused by “a technical malfunction” in the “course of routine maintenance”.
Pakistan said it has taken note of India’s statement, and that the “grave nature of the incident” raises 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,” it said, listing several questions.
Pakistan said that India must explain the measures and procedures in place to prevent accidental missile launches and the particular circumstances of this incident.
It added that India needs to clearly explain the type and specifications of the missile, as well as its flight path/ trajectory, and how it ultimately turned and entered into Pakistan.
It also sought to know if the missile is equipped with a self-destruct mechanism, and if so, why this failed to actualise.
‘Many loopholes’, international community must take note
Pakistan’s Foreign Office also sought to know whether Indian missiles are kept primed for launch even under routine maintenance.
It asked why India had failed to immediately inform Pakistan about the accidental launch, and waited until after Pakistan had 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,” it said.
“The whole incident indicates many loopholes and technical lapses of serious nature in Indian handling of strategic weapons,” it added.
India’s “decision to hold an internal court of inquiry is not sufficient as the missile ended up in Pakistani territory. Pakistan demands a joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident,” it said.
Calling on the international community, Pakistan said that given the short distances and response times, any misinterpretation by the other side could lead to counter measures 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,” it said.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)