The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects India’s unilateral file closure on the event involving the supersonic missile that moved and struck Pakistani territory on March 9, 2022. (MOFA). The MOFA clearly labels this as “unsatisfactory, insufficient, and inadequate” without implementing the requirements for the planned joint investigation into this careless occurrence that Pakistan had first requested.
It emphasised that India has not only ignored Pakistan’s request for a joint investigation but has also avoided answering Pakistan’s queries about the command-and-control system in place in India, the safety and security procedures, and the explanation for India’s tardy admission of the missile launch.
The Pakistani side is not satisfied by India’s unilateral move, despite the country’s August 23 announcement that “it punished three air force personnel for straying from routine operational protocols that had led to the unintentional launch of a missile into Pakistan on March 9.” It is nevertheless important to understand how and why that incident occurred in the first place. Was the purpose of it to test India’s most recent technology without sending a payload close to the Pakistani border? Was the purpose of that to test Pakistan’s commitment to prudence and nuclear deterrence? Or was that intended to demonstrate India’s force projection and aggressive posture in maintaining its domination over Pakistan? The following can be accepted up until this is rationally shown by the suggested joint probe.
First, India continues to modernise its armed forces and nuclear arsenal with cutting-edge technology, giving it incentives to launch an immediate attack in the event of a severe military conflict. Despite the acquisition of modern technology, one should avoid developing risky and mistaken confidence to be offensive to achieve a quick victory, especially while nuclear weapons are present. The perceived offensiveness of developing technologies like cyber, speed, stealth, and remote sensing might lead to wider instability in nations like India that are pursuing them. Their hasty conclusions that these technologies may render nuclear deterrence irrelevant while they search for a strategy to wage and win a war are wrong, hazardous, reckless, and irrational. The likelihood of crisis instability, an arms race, a security conundrum, and the possibility of nuclear conflict might all be increased by such a system.
Second, the August 9 missile misfire indicates either that India wants to test Pakistan’s resolve and the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence or that there is a serious problem with India’s centralised command and control system that jeopardises the safety and security precautions required to prevent an unintentional and poorly foreseen military crisis in South Asia. To test Pakistan’s resolve, though, India is looking for any gaps in the system that would encourage it to launch a pre-emptive strike. If it turns out to be an accident, as India claimed, it raises major concerns about the safety and security features of India’s nuclear weapons and the associated delivery systems.
Third, India needs to acknowledge the importance of its rival’s nuclear deterrence, review the safety and security mechanisms of its deterrent forces, and be open about its deterrent force posturing. These actions are necessary if India is to learn anything meaningful from the missile misfire. Furthermore, it shouldn’t draw the hasty and incorrect conclusion that, since it has more advanced technology, it can quickly achieve its political and military objectives. For any emerging technology, there is always a workable countermeasure. With mutually assured destruction present, modern technologies encourage offensiveness to launch an initial attack, which results in the collapse of deterrence.
Finally, to avert an unintentional conflict in South Asia, the strategic stability of South Asia as a whole necessitates more general imperatives for a persistent discourse.