India To Undertake High Level Inquiry Into Misfired Missile Incident
An accidental firing of the missile system on Pakistan that happened last week has led to a belief that India did it purposely. But the Defence Minister has said that the government has “taken serious note” of the incident and ordered a formal high-level inquiry into the incident.
Addressing a parliamentary session today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the accident happened during routine maintenance and inspection at around 7 pm. Stressing that the government attached “highest priority” to the safety and security of weapons systems, he assured the house that the missile system is “very reliable and safe”
The missile landed into Pakistani territory created quite a stir but did not lead to any loss of life or property. Post this mishap, Mr. Singh has reassured that the Standard Operating Procedures would be revisited to ensure this does not happen again in the future. As a further precautionary measure, maintenance and inspections will also be conducted in the wake of this incident.
On March 9, an unarmed Indian supersonic missile entered Pakistani territory and struck a cold storage warehouse near Mian Channu, some 275-km from Lahore. However, Lahore has demanded a full explanation and investigation into the incident.
While the US has sided with India, it has taken some time for the center to react and respond. A delayed and casual response might have not just set off alarm bells ringing in Islamabad but internationally as well, denting New Delhi’s “credibility as a responsible, mature and accountable nuclear-weapon state.”
A similar incident took place in Iran and inadvertedly hit a commercial flight killing people of all nationalities travelling on it. The incident, which is likely to the first of its kind, has raised questions about the existing safety mechanisms in India to prevent accidental missile launches. “The grave nature of the incident raises several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorized launch of missiles in a nuclearized environment,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said, demanding that India should offer a convincing explanation of the events that led to the missile’s firing.