WASHINGTON: Declaring the recent incident of Indian violation of Pakistani airspace by launching a projectile as "nothing but an accident", United States Department of State spokesman Ned Price refused to comment on the matter.
An Indian projectile had entered the Pakistani airspace on March 9, which fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district within a few minutes, causing some damage to the surrounding areas, Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar had said Thursday.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, Ned Price said that India has declared the landing of an Indian-origin missile into Pakistani territory an "accident" and the US has nothing to say beyond the explanation given by India.
"We have no indication, as you also heard from our Indian partners, that this incident was anything other than an accident. We refer you, of course, to the Indian Ministry of Defence for any follow-up. They issued a statement on March 9th to explain precisely what had happened. We don’t have a comment beyond that," Price said.
When asked if Price on behalf of the State Department has raised concerns on reports of Uranium theft and arrest of Indian citizens over smuggling Uranium, he said that he "is not familiar with that particular incident."
However, he said that "nuclear safety around the world is a conversation that is always ongoing" in diplomatic talks with nuclear-armed countries.
Speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Price said that the US is in contact with its South Asian allies on the matter.
Earlier, India accepted it "accidentally" fired a missile into Pakistan because of a "technical malfunction" during routine maintenance.
"On 9 March 2022, in the course of routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile," the Indian government had said in a statement.
"It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident."
“The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry,” the statement had added.
After the clarification by India, Pakistan regretted the transgression of the Indian-origin missile into its territory and demanded a "joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident."
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that the grave nature of the incident raised several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against the "accidental or unauthorised launch of missiles in a nuclearised environment."
"Such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities," the FO statement read.
The ministry had also asked following questions from India:
"The whole incident indicates many loopholes and technical lapses of serious nature in Indian handling of strategic weapons," it had said, adding that the Indian decision to hold an internal court of inquiry is "not sufficient since the missile ended up in Pakistani territory."
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