By Syed Ali Mujtaba
There are many questions that need answers on the act of mis-launch of an Indian unarmed supersonic cruise nuclear warhead missile that landed in Pakistani territory at around 07.20 pm IST on 09 March 2022.
The first and foremost question is why it did not happen all these years ever since this weaponry has been in India’s arsenal. The routine exercise of upkeeping of such weapons of mass destruction has been going on for the last 15 years or so but it has never happened in civilized nuclear-armed Indian history.
Why did it happen now when the whole world’s attention is focused on Ukraine and the western media is busy building the new image of Russian President Vladimir Putin as the new avatar of Osama Bin Laden!
While back in India, the dilemma before the countrymen is to support Russia the weapon supplier of the country, or the US, the new “Baag Vidhata” of Bharat.
Not many India’s are keen about the outcome of the Russia-Ukrain war as their interests fizzled out after our students returned home safely and operation Ganga was hailed as a huge success by our ‘Godi media’.
Right now the country is deeply involved in debating the movie ‘Kashmir Files made on the subject of Kashmiri terrorists committing atrocities against the Hindu community in Kashmir leading to their exodus from the valley.
The fictional narrative on the celluloid is a new wine that has intoxicated the people of India’s hinterland and to large extent, the mission of the movie to paint all Kashmir Muslims as terrorists has been successful.
The covert message of the movie is India should launch an operation “infinite justice”, on lines of the US in Afghanistan and that would be best to follow the His Masters Voice on gramophone playing the music ‘Howdy Modi’ and ‘Namaste Trump’!
The other swan song in India is how to deny the Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in the classroom. The nation has been put in a crisis situation that it’s an existential danger to the country if the Muslim girls are allowed to wear ‘Hijab’ in their school.
In this cacophony, the seriousness of the mis-launch of an Indian unarmed supersonic cruise nuclear missile that accidentally landed in Pakistani territory due to some goof up by our competent uniformed personnel has been lost.
Indian media and the government have been quite successful in hoodwinking the people’s attention towards a huge catastrophe in the making that had the potential to trigger a nuclear war.
The accident or adventure or the new brass track was first brought to light by the Pakistani military establishment through a press conference on 10 March 2022.
It was only about 48 hours after the mis-launch that the Indian Defence Ministry, through a press statement, chose to confirm the incident, describing the incident as accidental and terming it “deeply regrettable”.
This “deeply regrettable” word could have been blatantly denied had the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), group not expressed its grave concern over the accidental launch of the Brahmo supersonic missile by India.
News reports suggest that, since India did not alert Pakistan promptly about the ‘mis-launch’ as per agreed norms, Pakistani forces initially prepared for a retaliatory strike on India as tit for tat and ‘mis-launch’ and ‘deeply regrettable’ vocabulary.
However, saner heads in the epic center of the rouge state appear to have prevailed, and they recognized that the Indian intrusion of nuclear warheads into their territory was just a flying object and was not deliberate.
Nonetheless this incident, regardless that it did not cause any loss of life or strike any military installation, exemplifies the perpetually present dangers of a devastating war, between the two nuclear-armed countries.
The Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace CNDP immediately demands from the Government of India to provide a credible explanation regarding the ‘mis-launch’ of its supersonic nuclear missile. It has also sought an explanation from India about its failure to alert the Pakistani Government immediately after the mis-launch. This was a deliberate violation of agreed norms, making India a suspect nation it cannot handle its nuclear weapons.
The CNDP has also urged the government of India to immediately work out credible and effective confidence-building measures (CBMs) with Pakistan, revive the multiple channels of communication with them to avoid any misunderstandings. It has also urged to set up a functioning joint monitoring mechanism to avert the possibility of a disaster arising out of any such mis-launch in the future.
The CNDP had also appealed to the entire nuclear weapon states to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which entered into force on 22 January 2021. The treaty includes prohibitions on participating in any nuclear weapon activities.
India’s sorry act or goof-up or mess up may satisfy the domestic audience but the fact remains is it’s a chilling account that deserves not only explanation but a complete full stop to such demonstration of making India a rouge state.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. His forthcoming book is ‘Post Truth India – The Brand New Republic.’ He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org