Pakistan rejects India's response to accidental missile launch; demands joint probe 

'What the Indian defence minister had said in the Lok Sabha is incomplete and insufficient. It is not enough to satisfy Pakistan. I reject that and demand a joint probe'

Published: 15th March 2022 06:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2022 06:13 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (File Photo | AP)


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday rejected as "incomplete and insufficient" the response by India's defence minister Rajnath Singh in parliament about the "accidental firing" of a missile, and once again demanded a joint probe into the incident.

Addressing a press conference here, Qureshi talked in detail about India's accidental missile launch of March 9 as well as the 48th Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers being hosted by Pakistan on March 22-23.

"What the Indian defence minister had said in the Lok Sabha is incomplete and insufficient. It is not enough to satisfy Pakistan. I reject that and demand a joint probe," he said, reiterating Islamabad's demand made last week. 

"This was a highly irresponsible act and the answer given is equally irresponsible," Qureshi said in the first Pakistani reaction to Singh's detailed statement in Parliament.

Asserting that India's missile system is very reliable and the safety procedures are of the highest order, Defence Minister Singh on Tuesday described the recent accidental missile release as "regrettable".

He said a review of standard operations and maintenance was being conducted and any shortcomings if found, will be immediately rectified.

Making a statement in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on the inadvertent release of a missile during an inspection on March 9, Singh said the government has taken serious note of the incident, and a formal high-level inquiry has been ordered which will determine the exact cause of the incident.

"During routine maintenance and inspection, a missile was accidentally released at around 7 pm. It was later learnt that the missile had landed inside the territory of Pakistan. While this incident is regretted, we are relieved that nobody was hurt due to the accident," the minister said.

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The minister also said Indian armed forces are well-trained and disciplined and are well experienced in handling such systems.

In his comments, Qureshi lamented that the international community had failed to realise the severity of the Indian missile launch as it was capable of carrying the nuclear warhead and could have resulted in a nuclear conflagration.

"One sided investigation is not enough; its impact could be far beyond the region, because the missile was capable of carrying a warhead. It had this potential (of carrying a warhead) and to say that it was an accident, it is not enough," he said.

He warned that the missile could have resulted in a reaction.

"There could be an accidental reaction to that accidental launch if our air force had not picked it up well inside India. Do people realise the implication and consequences of that? That is very serious," he said.

He said that the US State Department spokesperson at a presser while realising the importance of the issue skirted the question when asked about it and didn't take a clear position.

"Do they realise whom I am addressing (US and rest of the world), that this missile could result in a war between two atomic states? I am not trying to be dramatic about it but it is a realistic assessment," he said.

When asked if Pakistan would also respond with an 'accidental launch' against India, he said: We are responsible people and expect India to be responsible.

Qureshi said that in order to sensitise the international community, he talked with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the missile issue.

"I am shocked that the media and the world have failed to feel this tremour," he said.

The foreign minister also said that he addressed a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council and tried to make them aware of their responsibilities that this incident happened and the silence by the world.

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Qureshi also repeated the same questions posed by Pakistan's Foreign Office regarding the Indian missile launch and asked New Delhi to respond to it.

"These are very very pertinent questions. I expect that the UN SC and the UN Forum will let us know about this and guide us on this issue," he said.

Talking about the upcoming OIC meeting, he said that its Contact Group on Kashmir would meet on the sidelines to review the existing situation in Kashmir.

India has previously rejected OIC's locus standi and said the organisation continues to be hijacked by vested interests to further their nefarious propaganda against India.

Qureshi said that the OIC also want to come up with a joint stance on Islamophobia and the issue of veil by Muslim women.

He said that the 48the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting coincides with the 75th independence celebrations of the country and so far confirmation of 48 minister-level participation have been made.


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