ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to press India for conducting a joint probe into the March 9 missile fiasco and rejected New Dehli’s move to hold an internal ‘inquiry’.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the body in a letter written to UNSC President for March Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (UAE), and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
On March 11, India 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.
"On March 9, 2022, in the course of 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.
In the letter, the FM said that “such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities”.
The FM further shared Pakistan’s concerns and demands about the violation of Pakistan’s Airspace by India’s “super-sonic missile”.
"Pakistan strongly condemns this blatant violation of its airspace in contravention of international aviation safety protocols,” the letter stated. "Such irresponsible incidents are also reflective of India’s disregard for air safety and callous approach towards regional peace and stability.”
“This missile incident is consistent with India’s irresponsible conduct and deserves to be addressed by the international community and especially the Security Council, with the sense of alarm and urgency which it deserves,” FM Qureshi further wrote in the letter.
Qureshi’s letter is also being circulated as an official document of the 15-member Council under two agenda items, “The responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security” and “The India-Pakistan Question.”
The foreign minister further stated that the Indian missile not only caused damage to civilian property but also put at risk human lives on the ground in Pakistan. He added that it could have resulted in a massive accident causing civilian casualties.
“Given the short distances and response times in the Pakistan-India theatre, any misinterpretation by either side of each other’s military actions could lead to responses with grave consequences for the region and indeed for the whole world, especially in a nuclearized environment,” the Qureshi said.
In the letter, the country’s top diplomat also drew the world’s attention to India’s "persistent aggressive and irresponsible” actions, its massive arms build-up as well as its offensive military doctrines and force postures which pose an ever-present threat to peace, security and stability in South Asia.
Noting the press statement issued by the Indian Press Information Bureau’s Defence Wing regretting the “accidental firing” of the missile into Pakistani territory due to “technical malfunction” and the decision to hold an internal Court of Inquiry, the foreign minister called on India to explain the measures and procedures in place to prevent accidental missile launches and the particular circumstances of this incident; the type and specifications of the missile that fell in Pakistani territory, and the flight path/trajectory of the accidentally launched missile and how it ultimately turned and entered into Pakistan.
Qureshi further asked whether the missile was equipped with a self-destruct mechanism, why did it fail to actualise and whether Indian missiles were kept primed for launch even under routine maintenance.
Furthermore, the foreign minister asked, “why did India fail to inform Pakistan immediately about the accidental launch of the missile and waited to acknowledge it until Pakistan announced the incident and sought clarification”?
“Given the profound level of incompetence, India needs to explain if the missile was indeed handled by its armed forces or some rogue elements?” the FM stated.
FM Qureshi’s letter also reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire for peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.
"Pakistan’s desire for peace is accompanied by a strong resolve and capability for self-defence, which will be exercised in accordance with the rights under the UN Charter,” he said.