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India’s ability in ensuring safety of nuclear weapons questioned

Raising questions on India’s ability to ensure the safety and security of its nuclear and other high-end weapon systems following the neighbouring country’s admission that it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf on Friday urged the world to take notice of the sheer negligence by New Delhi.

“On March 9th, a supersonic projectile from India travelling at 40,000 feet covered over 250 km & landed inside Pakistani territory. It has taken more than 2 days for India to accept that this was their missile launched ostensibly due to a technical malfunction during maintenance,” Moeed wrote in a series of tweets.

He said that the incident raised serious questions about India’s ability to handle such sensitive technology. “This missile travelled close to the path of international and domestic commercial airlines and threatened the safety of civilians.”

The NSA said that it was also highly irresponsible of Indian authorities not to have informed Pakistan immediately that an inadvertent launch of a cruise missile had taken place.

Read more: India admits to ‘accidentally’ firing missile into Pakistan

“In a nuclear environment, such callousness & ineptitude raises questions about the safety & security of Indian weapon systems. Already, there have been multiple incidents of uranium theft in India and its citizens have even been arrested while smuggling uranium in the recent past,” he added.

Moeed pointed out that this is a state apparatus being run by a fascist ideology that has already proven its recklessness by trying to bomb Pakistan in 2019.

“We have constantly called on the world to look at India’s irresponsible behaviour that continues to pose a threat to regional stability. Our calls have been ignored.”

Given this incident, and earlier ones, the NSA said that the world must consider whether India is able to ensure the safety and security of its nuclear and other high-end weapon systems.

“It is hard to believe anything this Indian government says. Therefore, the real circumstances surrounding this incident must also be investigated to ascertain if this was an inadvertent launch or something more intentional.”

Regardless, he concluded, the world must remove its blinders about the Indian state’s behaviour within its country, its diplomatic direction, and its disregard for the need for peace and stability in its neighbourhood.

Also read: Pakistan seeks answer from India after ‘supersonic missile’ crashes near Mian Chunnu

“The world must treat this incident with the urgency, sensitivity & alarm it deserves,” he further added.

India’s ‘supersonic missile’ crashes in Pakistan

Moeed’s remarks came a day after the military said that an unidentified high-altitude supersonic object originating in India had crashed in Pakistani territory, in an incident endangering civilian passenger flights, and New Delhi should provide an explanation.

“On 9 March a high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian territory by air defence operations centre of the Pakistan air force,” Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar said in a press conference.

He said that the military was not sure of the nature of the object, which crashed near Punjab’s Mian Channu and originated from the Indian city of Sirsa, in India’s western Haryana state.

“The flight path of this object endangered many national and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property of ground,” he said.

India, in its response, admitted that it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan and ordered a high-level court of inquiry into the incident that could have led to a major disaster or misunderstanding between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Also read: FM Qureshi seeks clarification from India on ‘flying object’

“On March 9, 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” read a statement issued by the Indian defence ministry in New Delhi.

“The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry,” it further said.

“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,” read the communiqué.

Pakistan had also summoned the Indian envoy to record a strong protest over the incident and seek an explanation earlier in the day.

Incompetence or irresponsibility?

Indian Defence Ministry’s statement that a missile was accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan by its forces has raised many questions for the peace and stability of the region.

Analysts believed that if Pakistan had not acted as a responsible country following the incident, a sudden war could have broken out between the two nuclear neighbours, repercussions of which could have been extremely severe.

They said that India has always highlighted the insecurity of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, but after admitting that the missile was fired accidentally by its own forces, questions are being raised about the safety of its own strategic assets.

There have been several cases of theft of enriched uranium in India before. In August last year, the Indian authorities arrested two suspects from the city of Kolkata for illegally possessing radioactive substances worth over $573 million.

The analysts feared that due to the insecurity of Indian strategic weapons as well as the growing separatist movements and civil war in many Indian states, these strategic weapons could fall into the hands of non-state actors.

Many analysts even questioned whether the incident actually occurred by mistake of there was more to the story. “India says missile landed in Pakistan after “Accidental Firing”! Even a rogue missile knows where to land – in Pakistan but not in China,” Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, wrote on his Twitter handle.

In any case, the analysts concluded, the international community should demand that India must secure its nuclear assets as such a mistake could be a precursor to a huge catastrophe in the region.

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