With ever-existing tensions between the two rival nuclear neighbors, a single imprudent act could escalate the crisis to an irreversible level. India reserves the record of its adventurism and uncalculated risks while it keeps on forgetting the possible consequences and prompt response capability of the other side as recent as demonstrated three years ago. The so-called accidental fire of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile a few days ago across the border violating the airspace of Pakistan is yet another showcase of India’s imprudence and lack of wisdom. This is high time for the international stakeholders to set aside their biased uplift of India and bring it under accountability for its abnormally growing aggression before it becomes a tragedy for all.
Maintaining a record of recklessness, India is putting regional stability and security into jeopardy. West’s continual incomprehension of the fact is adding fuel to the fire. As of recent, the United States’ endorsement of the Indian statement of accidental missile fire comes not a surprise. The US must realize that the repercussions of this continuing irrationality from one side would escalate the ever-existing tensions between the two nuclear-armed states and would eventually roll the whole world into an indiscriminate cataclysm.
What might have gone worse?
The missile could have hit the inhabited area resultantly a killing many. Traveling at an estimated 40,000ft height it could have knocked into the international and domestic operational flights at the time. From its original route, picked up by PAF’s Air Defence Operation Centre at 6:43 pm, the missile’s maneuvering towards Pakistan and crashing near Mian Channu at 6:50 pm; this seven-minute duration could have been enough for causing a decisive retaliatory strike justifiable as defensive in nature.
Having an unwise neighbor in the backyard demands a high level of responsibility and wisdom which is repeatedly demonstrated by Pakistan’s leadership yet if India’s imprudence continued, the result would not be different than a full-scale war ending on a nuclear catastrophe.
Is it enough?
Internal inquiry on an issue involving another state’s airspace violation is an excuse unacceptable. Neither does it ensure the prevention of such acts in the future when the world’s major power and the biggest stakeholder silently watches the heedless actions. Firm measures under international supervision are needed to avoid such adverse incidents.
Presently, India needs to answer the credibility of its arsenal’s safety and security mechanism and related protocols. How Indian missile accidentally turned away of its trajectory and entered Pakistan’s airspace? Why India failed to inform Pakistan of the accidental launch? Provided BrahMos’ origin under a joint venture, is Indian missile technology under the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) reliable enough? Are Indian military and political leadership able to carry out sound decision-making while guarding the world’s most lethal weapons?
Firstly, it is necessary to put the concerned authority or personnel accountable with a charge under the airspace law for the claimed accidental launch during routine maintenance, its trajectory ending up in Pakistan and the inability of the concerned in communicating the incident well in time because of which it might have instigated the strategic military conflict. Secondly, it is necessary to carry out a joint investigation with international involvement to inquire, how credible India’s missile technology and military leadership are and how credible is India’s handling of strategic weapons and fissile material provided the previous incidents of fissile material theft.
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Thirdly, India must evidently ensure its neighbors and international community of the prevention of such incidents in the future with significant procedural and behavioral changes on the level of political and military leadership. Fourthly, India needs to strictly adhere and strengthen the communication channels, their timeliness and efficacy, with its nuclear neighbors.
Futuristically, under the current course of the West’s silence and unaccountability, such acts by India are probably going to get frequent to the level of coercing Pakistan to respond which would surely be regrettable for the conflict initiator. The menacing actor of the region and its compromised governance with irresponsible leadership is the biggest threat to South Asia and beyond. Unless and until the international community reconsiders its leverage to India, the region would not ever escape the cycle of conflict and instability.
Hananah Zarrar is working as Associate Director in Strategic Affairs domain, at Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.