NSA Yusuf questions India's ability to handle sensitive technology after missile accident

Published March 11, 2022
NSA Moeed Yusuf gestures as he speaks to members of the media in Islamabad on September 15, 2021 about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. — AFP/File
NSA Moeed Yusuf gestures as he speaks to members of the media in Islamabad on September 15, 2021 about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. — AFP/File

After India admitted the accidental firing of a missile inside Pakistan, National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf questioned on Friday Delhi's ability to handle sensitive technology, urging the world to consider whether India was able to ensure the safety and security of its weapon systems.

A day ago, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar had revealed during a press briefing that an Indian "high-speed flying object" had fallen in Mian Channu, Khanewal district on Wednesday night. It was also shared that the projectile had travelled 124 kilometres inside Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds.

Gen Iftikhar had said the object was probably a missile and unarmed and had called for an explanation from Delhi.

Earlier today, the Indian defence ministry confirmed in a statement that a missile was accidentally fired inside Pakistan due to a "technical malfunction". It expressed regret over the incident and said an inquiry had been ordered into the matter.

In series a tweets, Yusuf pointed out that it had taken Delhi more than two days to accept that "this was their missile launched ostensibly due to a technical malfunction during maintenance".

"This raises serious questions about India’s ability to handle such sensitive technology," he said, adding that the missile had travelled close to the path of international and domestic airlines and threatened the safety of civilians.

He also called out the Indian authorities for not informing Pakistan immediately that an "inadvertent launch of a cruise missile had taken place".

"In a nuclear environment, such callousness and ineptitude raises questions about the safety and security of Indian weapon systems," he said, adding that already multiple incidents of uranium theft in India had been reported and its citizens "have even been arrested while smuggling uranium in the recent past".

"Remember, this is a state apparatus being run by a fascist ideology that has already proven its recklessness by trying to bomb Pakistan in 2019," Yusuf said, regretting that Pakistan's repeated calls urging the world to take notice of "India’s irresponsible behaviour" had been ignored.

This irresponsible behaviour of Delhi continued to pose a threat to regional stability, he said.

"Given this incident [of March 9], and earlier ones, the world must consider whether India is able to ensure the safety and security of its nuclear and other high-end weapon systems," the NSA said. "The world must remove its blinders about Indian state’s behaviour within its country, its diplomatic direction, and its disregard for the need for peace and stability in its neighbourhood. The world must treat this incident with the urgency, sensitivity and [the] alarm it deserves."

Yusuf also called for an investigation into the "real circumstances surrounding" the March 9 incident "to ascertain if this was an inadvertent launch or something more intentional" as "it is hard to believe anything this Indian government says."

The NSA's response to the incident is the latest to have come from Pakistan.

Besides calling for an explanation from Delhi and raising similar concerns as the NSA, the DG ISPR had said during Thursday's press briefing that "Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in the future."

Earlier today, the Foreign Office (FO) had summoned the Indian envoy to register Pakistan's protest over the unprovoked violation of its airspace, saying such "irresponsible incidents" reflected the neighbouring country's "disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability".

It had also called for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident, the results of which should be shared with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had expressed concern over the incident, saying that the international community and aviation bodies should take notice.

He had said Pakistan would decide its next step after receiving India's explanation, adding that envoys of P-5 countries (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) would be called to the FO and briefed about the incident.

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