Pakistan rejects India’s closure of missile firing incident | New

The Indian Air Force said at the end of its investigation on Tuesday that the government had sacked three officers for accidentally firing a missile at Pakistan in March.

Pakistan has rejected India’s closure of the shooting incident a supersonic missile in Pakistani territory on March 9, and reiterated a request for a joint investigation, the Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

The Indian Air Force said at the end of its investigation on Tuesday that the government had sacked three officers for accidentally firing a missile at Pakistan in March.

The BrahMos missile, a nuclear-capable land-attack cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India, was fired on March 9, prompting Pakistan to demand answers from New Delhi on the security mechanisms in place to prevent accidental launches.

“Pakistan categorically rejects India’s alleged closure of the highly irresponsible incident and reiterates its call for a joint investigation,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The actions taken by India following the incident and the subsequent findings and sanctions issued by the so-called “internal court of inquiry” are grossly unsatisfactory, flawed and inadequate, he added.

“India has not only failed to respond to Pakistan’s request for a joint investigation, but has also evaded the questions raised by Pakistan regarding the command and control system in place in India, security protocols and security and the reason for India’s late admission of the missile launch,” the statement added.

The Indian Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday: “A Court of Inquiry, set up to establish the facts of the case, including the determination of responsibility for the incident, has concluded that the failure to follow standard operating procedures by three officers led to the accidental firing of the missile.

He added that the government had fired the three officers with immediate effect.

Security concerns

The incident, which may have been the first of its kindimmediately raised questions about the safety mechanisms in place to prevent accidental launches and raised concerns as both countries possess nuclear weapons.

Pakistani officials said the missile was unarmed and crashed near the eastern town of Mian Channu, about 500 km (310 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

According to the US-based Arms Control Association, the missile’s range is between 300 km (186 miles) and 500 km (310 miles), making it capable of hitting Islamabad from a launch pad north of India.

After the incident, Pakistan’s foreign office summoned India’s Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad filed a protest against what he called an unprovoked violation of its airspace, saying the incident could have endangered passenger flights and civilian lives.

Pakistan warned India “to be aware of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and to take effective measures to prevent such violations from happening again in the future”.

Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by neighbours, who have fought three wars and have engaged in numerous military clashes, most recently in 2019 which saw the air forces of both engage in combat.

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