(Web Desk)-The United States Department of State has declared the recent incident of Indian violation of Pakistani airspace by launching a projectile into Pakistan “nothing but an accident.”
An Indian projectile had entered the Pakistani airspace on March 9, which fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district within a few minutes, causing some damage to the surrounding areas, Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar had said Thursday.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that India has declared the landing of Indian-origin missile into Pakistani territory an “accident” and the US has nothing to say beyond the explanation given by India.
“We have no indication, as you also heard from our Indian partners, that this incident was anything other than an accident. We refer you, of course, to the Indian Ministry of Defence for any follow-up. They issued a statement on March 9th to explain precisely what had happened. We don’t have a comment beyond that,” Prince said during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
When asked if Price on behalf of the State Department has raised concerns on reports of Uranium theft and arrest of Indian citizens over smuggling Uranium, he said that he “is not familiar with that particular incident.”
However, he said that “nuclear safety around the world is a conversation that is always ongoing” in diplomatic talks with nuclear armed countries.
Speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Price said that the US is in contact with its South Asian allies on the matter.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on India’s so-called “accidental” missile launch.
In a phone conversation with the UN secretary-general, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister emphasised that it was a flagrant breach of Pakistan’s airspace, demonstrating India’s contempt for aviation safety and regional peace and security.
Pakistan continues to act with moderation and responsibility, according to the FM.
He emphasised Pakistan’s call for a joint investigation into the incident, citing several flaws and major technological errors in India’s management of strategic weapons.
The episode, according to the FM, is consistent with India’s irresponsible behaviour and must be handled by the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council.
Later, India accepted it “accidentally” fired a missile into Pakistan because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance.
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian government said in a statement.
“It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. 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.”
“The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry,” the statement added.
The development comes a day after Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar revealed that an Indian projectile had entered the Pakistani airspace and fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district, causing some damage to the surrounding areas.
In response, the Foreign Office said Friday morning Pakistan strongly condemned the unprovoked violation of its airspace by a “super-sonic flying object” of Indian origin.
After the clarification by India, Pakistan regretted the transgression of the Indian-origin missile into its territory and demanded a “joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident.”
In a statement issued today, 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 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.