India has a long history of violating Pakistan’s air space. On April 10, 1959, an Indian Air Force (IAF) Canberra aircraft on a photo reconnaissance mission in Pakistan was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) somewhere near Gujrat. On August 19, 1999, a Pakistan navy Atlantic plane was shot down by two IAF MiG-21, killing all 16 naval personnel on board on the pretext of violating their air space. The Atlantic patrol plane was within Pakistan’s air space, the plane was unarmed and the debris was found on the Pakistani side of the border. On February 27, 2019, India shot down its own Mi-17 helicopter in IIOJK when the PAF shot down two of its aircrafts.

On March 9, 2022, an Indian missile fell in the Mian Channu city of Punjab. According to DG ISPR, the missile was picked up by Pakistan’s air defence system well inside the Indian territory at Sirsa city of Haryana state. Initially it was headed South West to the Mahajan field firing ranges in Rajasthan and then suddenly changed its course to the North West and violated Pakistan’s air space before falling in Mian Channu. The Pakistan air defence system continuously monitored the missile from its launch site. It travelled 124 kilometers inside Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds. It has now been confirmed that it was Indian BrahMos missile without a warhead. BrahMos missile is a joint venture of Russia and India, named after two rivers the Brahmaputra of India and Moskva of Russia. This missile endangered several passage flights domestic and international flights both in Indian and Pakistani air space as well as civilians lives and property on ground. The big question is how did this happen or what were the motives of firing a missile without a warhead towards Pakistan.

Let us assume it was an accidental fire, why did the Indian government only respond after DG ISPR’s press briefing. The Indian military even did not bother to use the hotline to inform Pakistan that an accidental missile got fired due to a technical malfunction. The late response raised many questions. First, why did India fail to immediately inform Pakistan about the accidental firing of missile and secondly who was handling the missile.

Although the Indians have claimed it was an accidental fire, let us not buy this idea. It could be deliberate attempt to test the response and alertness of Pakistan’s air defence system. It has also raised serious questions on the Indian security protocol and safety mechanism. This certainly reflects the lack of professionalism, failure to adopt safety mechanism and technical safe guards. This has proved one thing; the technology used in the missile is substandard with chances of malfunctioning. Secondly, if it was a human error, then that is highly irresponsible. Imagine if it was armed with a warhead, the consequences could have been disastrous for India. According to Bloomberg, Pakistan had prepared to launch a similar missile but exercised restraint after evaluating the situation. In the past, the West and India on several occasions showed their concern that terrorists in Pakistan can gain access to its nukes. The US state department did not take the issue seriously. Similarly, the EU did not show concern either.

If it was a ‘technical malfunction’, then the incident will adversely impact Indian deals to export the missile. Philippine has already signed a deal with India worth $375 million to purchase the BrahMos missile. Eleven other countries are interested in buying these missiles. This so called malfunction has raised the questions of the credibility of BrahMos missiles.

In India there have been several incidents of civilians who were found in possession of uranium. This is something very serious but IAEA did not raise concerns and the international community chose to remain silent as well. This also reflects India’s poor safety and security mechanisms for nuclear material. The international community, UN and UNSC have to watch the Indian nuclear and missile programme so that these weapons do not land in the hands of rogue elements, especially fascist elements within the government. Such an incident could have led to unavoidable war between the two nuclear armed states. The issue must be taken seriously before it is too late.