‘No indication’ India missile fire was deliberate: State Department

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Days after Islamabad rejected New Delhi’s decision to hold an internal inquiry into a missile India “accidentally” fired into Pakistan’s territory and demanded a joint probe, the United States said it has “no indication” to believe the incident was “anything other than an accident”.

“The [State] Department has no indication that this incident was anything other than an accident, and we refer you to the Indian Ministry of Defence for any follow-up to their statement on the matter,” said its spokesperson, Ned Price, when asked by Jahanzaib Ali, Washington correspondent of ARY News, to comment during a daily press briefing.

Last Friday, India confirmed it had accidentally fired the missile because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance, giving its version of events after Pakistan warned New Delhi of “unpleasant consequences.”

An official Indian statement explained that “in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile.” It noted New Delhi had taken a “serious view and ordered a high-level” investigation into the incident.

However, the following day, Pakistan rejected the Indian decision to hold an internal inquiry and, instead, demanded a joint probe into the incident, calling on the international community to play a role.

“Such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“Pakistan demands a joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident,” it added.

Pakistan has also demanded clarifications from India over its safety mechanism to prevent accidental missile launches, and whether it was appropriately handled by its armed forces.

In June last year, police in India arrested seven people and seized 6.4 kilogrammes of uranium from their possession, marking the second time in less than a month that authorities have captured a large quantity of radioactive material from unauthorised persons.

Asked to comment, Price said he wasn’t “familiar with that particular incident”.

“What I would say is that nuclear safety around the world, especially in […] nuclear-armed countries, it is always a conversation that is ongoing.”

The post ‘No indication’ India missile fire was deliberate: State Department appeared first on Pakistan Today.

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