Rabita Forum International organized a webinar, Indian Irresponsible Strategic Behavior, Intention & Regional & Global Perspectives after taking into consideration the incidents which occurred March 9, 2022, when a surface to surface Indian missile Brahmos crashed near Mian Chanu in Pakistan. Not only this but no explanation was given by Indian authorities until an explanation was demanded by Pakistan after 2 days.
The Chairman of Rabita forum International, Mr. Nusrat Mirza in his opening statement welcomed & introduced the panelist: Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent member to United Nations, Former Ambassador Zamir Akram, Dr. Syed Muhammad Ali, Director Center for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS) and welcomed all the participants that are taking part either from Pakistan or from abroad together with print & electronic media.
The chairman gave a brief account of the event which took place on March 9. According to the chairman Brahmo missle incident which landed in Pakistan on March 9, 2022 was a first of its kind. It is a serious and alarming incident as Brahmos is a cruise missile, which is guided weapon. He was of the opinion, how can a guided missle change direction and what is more alarming is Indian Response . He expressed grave concerns over Indian irresponsible and casual response which came 2 days later on Pakistan’s protest, stating it was a mistake due to a technical difficult and not intentional. Mr. Mirza was the opinion given Indian background and the nature of cruise missile its difficult to comprehend as a Mistake. India previously has been creating mischief for Pakistan such as Balakot incident and a guided missile can only change its course if its guided to do so.
Ms. Bismah Mirza, executive director Interaction provided the details of the incident and asked questions from the panelist to generate discussion.
She stated that while we all were debating about Parliament lodges incident on March 10. At 7:00 pm a breaking news flash screen sharing that DG ISPR will hold a press conference. DG ISPR gave an account of what happened on the eve of March 9:
- An unidentified mysterious object flew into Pakistan territory from India and it crashed near Mian Chunu.
- He defined this mysterious object to be an unarmed supersonic design which was launched from India. On the evening of March 9, it took off from Sirsa near Rajasthan which is 120 kilometers away Pakistan border.
- It traveled at the height of 40,000 and
- It was in the air for around six minutes in India when it changed its direction at a 90 degree angle and then it enter into Pakistan airspace.
- It flew over Pakistan’s airspace for around three minutes and 24 seconds before it crashed
- the missile cover the flight of 60 Kilometer over around in nine minutes 24 seconds. And it was before it was monitored and later crashed by the ir Defence Operations Centre (ADOC) of PAF.
- The time when it enter Pakistan territory it was 1850 in 1853 hours around this time.
- Around this time two international Qatar and Saudi and three domestic flights which are flying along Islamabad-Lahore-Karachi. No casualties !
Mr.. Nusrat Mirza, further explained that Brahmos was deployed near Rajahistan in February 2019 as India threatened to destroy Pskistani cities e.g. Bhawalpur & Rafiqi Air base and its believed at that time, Israeli operators were also present but when Pakistan threatened to destroy dozen of Indian cities with its nuclear capability, India buckled down but Brahamos have been deployed there.
According to her, this incidents raised many questions not just as a Pakistani but as a peace advocate:
Firstly, it was a very close call, we can imagine what could have happened if any of these flights were hit in a fraction of a second. Was it a mistake or a meticulously, calculated, planned & executed incident?
Secondly, how a Brahmo which was previously used to threaten Rafiqui Air Base & Bhawalpur city, develops a fault and lands in near to the same vicinity?
Thirdly, what was the object doing, flying three minutes and twenty four seconds in our air space?
Fourthly, what usually happens when missiles like Brahmos incur a fault, what course do they follow? Is it normal for them to change its path and land in nuclear armed neighbors?
Last but not least, I want to draw the attention to incident’s date and timings,
As this incident is a sandwiched between two important days one is February 27, and the other is March 23. So my question is that, is it some kind of a message or are they (Indians) trying to gauge how swift is our response still is?
Ambassador, Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to United Nations
Ambassador Akram realizing that its an important issue shared there are number of options which Pakistan is contemplating. He shared what Pakistan has done so far taking the issue in consideration. He emphasized whatever course Pakistan takes, it will be mature, restrained, and diplomatic and what is befitting for a responsible nuclear state. First of all, we have to make the world community aware of the dangerous behavior on the part of India and secondly, what are the actions that could be taken to safeguard from a repetition of such behavior in the future? He explained that till now the foreign minister has written to the President of the Security Council and to the Secretary General of the United Nations and he has listed a number of questions that has been posed mainly for India as to
- The reasons for this incident,
- What safety requirements are in place,
- Whether this was in fact a accident,
- In what circumstances that happened?
- What are the safeguards that India intends to place against the repetition of this incident?
He mentioned that there eight questions in total which Pakistan has posed. Pakistan has proposed that there should be an joint investigation in which Pakistan should be associated in order to establish and reassure ourselves that this was indeed an accident, that this was not either deliberate either on their part to provoke us or it was not a rogue element which resulted to this kind of irresponsible firing of nuclear capable missile and to reassure to ourselves that India has a will in place, number of safety and security measures in order to avoid a repetition of such an incident in the future. Ambassador also mentioned that there other aspects of this issue which we need to be considered in other other forums; first, there is the issue of civil aviation safety, there we need to discuss with the Civil Aviation Organization, the including the United Nations safety and security organization., the the International Ice ICAO, International Civilian Aircraft Organization. He said we are thinking about the communication in an organization in which India is a party and Pakistan is not
the MTCR missile control organization. So, there are several different actions which Paksitan is contemplating in order to assure ourselves that such an irresponsible action is not is not repeated by India in the future
Former Ambassador to UN, Amb. Zamir Akram
Ambassador Zamir Akram was of the opinion that we have to wait to see the outcome of our own investigation in to this incident to be able to make sure what was the nature of this missile trajectory? What made it head towards Pakistan territory while changing its initial trajectory?
He said he said he does not want to go in speculation but if we assume Indian claim of a malfunction and an accidental there are many questions which arise.
Firstly, if it’s a malfunction why Pakistan was not informed by the Director General of Military Operation of India, which both the countries are required to do so in case of such incidents through a hotline? He further challenged Indian claim by asking Why the Indians did not acknowledge the claims for at least 24 hours until Pakistan demanded? He termed this Indian behavior as Irresponsible. He further analyzed if this was a malfunction, it then demonstrate total incompetence and lack of expertise which has resulted in accidental launched as a missile cannot be launched unless a series of SOP are followed. He based his argument that if this was an accidental then this reflects gross incompetence from Indian side. Ambassador Zamir Akram raised a very critical third point this incident could be a potentially very dangerous one as alert time between two countries is three minutes or even less. He praised Pakistan’s response and said, ‘Had Pakistan not behaved as a responsible state and instead had a knee jerk reaction it could have led to a major crisis between the two countries. However, he said we have to determine, if this was deliberate act by India then what was the purpose? If it was to gauge our reaction then we must draw some conclusion from this episode. He pointed out that as a few weeks ago an Indian submarine intruded our waters and they were warned when they turned back. That incident tested our resolve. He said Indians have to draw conclusions from our reactions out of any kind of view and you know, Bismah
Dr. Syed Muhammad Ali, Director CASS
There are four dimensions of this incident which can be understood in four dimensions: one is the technical dimension, operational, strategically & diplomatically
Technically: Firstly, Pakistani Foreign Office rejected the Indian statement’ rather than we have accepted the Indian regret. Instead it raised four key questions and has also demanded a joint probe rather accepting announcing high-level inquiry.
Second part of technical claim: Dr. Syed Muhammad Ali rejected the claim that the Indian defense minister defense made regarding it was an accidental launch, which misfire due to maintenance on the technical aspects as cruise missile requires elaborate, comprehensive launch protocol to be followed. Also a missile like Brahmos which is a surface to surface version has a pre-fed data that makes it to fly an accurate path. He said it is not like that somebody pushed the wrong button. According to him, It’s not technically possible for surface to surface version of a cruise missile like this one to change direction out of its own choice and fly 124 kilometers into Pakistan. So, that is very important that we need to assess whether the direction that it took according to the Indian claim and went into Pakistan and hit Mian Chunnu was this data was actually part of the mission computer of the missile or not, as it will determine whether Indian claim is misleading or not
The third part of Technical dimension: Whether the missile had a self-destruct mechanism built into it or not? It is important because if there was a self-destruct mechanism and the launching authority, or the regiment which was controlling this design, or the air defense system of India itself, when they realized, that it has changed a direction which was undesirable, and why did they not destroy the design in mid-flight and allow it to penetrate 124 Kilometer into another country’s territory. These are the three technical reasons why it is not acceptable that Indian explanation is not satisfactory and acceptable on technical grounds.
The second aspect is the operational dimension: All countries which are nuclear powers are not only required to build international trust but also demonstrate a responsible behavior towards maintaining a safe and secure nuclear arsenal and their delivery means. They develop different types of protocols launched mechanisms and procedures and SOPs to ensure there is no accidental or unauthorized launch of any delivery system. These could be simple, but elaborate to ensure, no individual can launch it.
Indian claim of accident is not acceptable as to how all these launch protocols and sequence which may require up to eight to 10 different steps and decisions are all the entire launch sequence was accidental. A missile is not just a ready to fire system. It requires a number of elaborate SOP until it’s kept in ready to launch state,
Strategic Dimension: If the Indian missile was on a launch state, it also raises a very serious question regarding the doctrine India has publicly declared. It has a civilian led nuclear program, a civilian led nuclear command and control and it has a doctrine of no first use. If the strategic delivery system or cruise or ballistic missile in a ready to launch state, and this is in direct contradiction of their doctrinal premise. How is the authorization and approval process regarding the launch of cruise missile? Does it require civilian written formal authorization from the highest political office like prime minister or the charge of the Strategic Force Command? Or a commander of that particular missile regiment which launched it can unilaterally and individually launch it because if it was an accident and missile operator or the commander of that regiment launched it, then that means that strategically it forces are actually not following that doctrinal promises that India has made to the international community the diplomatic aspect, which is perhaps the most disturbing for the international community. That it took India two days to give a statement is Indian Irresponsible strategic behavior.
Diplomatic Dimension: Dr. Ali stressed that not telling your Nuclear neighbour of your mistake timely for two days is highly alarming.
He suggested that the international community particularly those countries, which share missile technology, nuclear technology with India must review their cooperation agreements in light of irresponsible behavior. As these agreement are helping India build up its strategic nuclear and missile capability because it is not just a regional issue, as recently they have announced they are developing an 800 kilometer range Brahmos , they have a 5000 kilometer range, Agni five ICBM so that indicates their ambitions are not restricted only to Pakistan. If such incident had taken place in case of Arihant nuclear submarine, which carries their nuclear weapons and on a petrol in a ready to fire state and they actually launch a ballistic missile like that. It’s not just Pakistan but all of the international community which falls in a 5000 kilometer radius whether it is so Russia, it is China, whether it is Japan, or the countries that fall within the 5000 kilometer range are vulnerable to that developing Indian nuclear and missile capability, which is being managed, very responsibility and unprofessionally.