In call with German foreign minister, Qureshi says world must take note of India’s ‘accidental’ missile launch

The missile, which was initially identified by Pakistan as an unarmed "high-speed flying object", had travelled 124 kilometres inside Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds.


A combination photo of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock (L). — Reuters/AP

March 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday held a telephone call with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock and conveyed to her that Islamabad had urged the international community to take serious notice of the “accidental” firing of a missile by India inside Pakistan last week and play its due role in upholding strategic stability in the region.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO), Qureshi informed Baerbock the Indian missile had violated Pakistan’s airspace on March 9.

The missile, which was initially identified by Pakistan as an unarmed “high-speed flying object”, had travelled 124 kilometres inside Pakistani territory in three minutes and 44 seconds, according to the details shared during a press briefing by Inter-Services Public Relations Director (ISPR) General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar a day after the incident.

The DG ISPR had told the media on the occasion that the missile was picked up by the Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force while it was inside the Indian territory.

“From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s air space, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50pm” on March, he had said, and called for an explanation from India.

A day later, India had confirmed that a missile was launched inside Pakistan, albeit “accidentally”. It had attributed the incident to a “technical malfunction” — an explanation that Islamabad finds too “simplistic” and resultantly, urging for a joint probe of the matter.

In the phone call with Baerbock today, Qureshi reiterated this stance of Pakistan, saying that such a serious matter could not be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities.

He said Pakistan had called for a joint probe of the incident, as well as urged the international community to take note of this incident of “grave nature in a nuclearised environment”.

FM Qureshi further stressed the need for the international community to “play its due role in upholding and promoting strategic stability in the region”, the FO statement said.

Ukraine situation
With regards to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Qureshi told Baerbock “it was a grave moment in Europe’s history”.

He also informed Baerbock of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s conversation with European Council chief Charles Michel, and his own phone calls with foreign ministers of Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Russia, as well as with European Union High Representative Josep Borrell.

He said that Pakistan had stressed the importance of cessation of hostilities, establishment and maintenance of humanitarian corridors, provision of humanitarian assistance and continuous efforts for a solution through dialogue and diplomacy.

Bilateral ties
The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on bilateral ties between Germany and Pakistan, with FM Qureshi underscoring the “high value” Islamabad attached to its ties with Berlin.

He said Pakistan was determined to further deepen its collaboration with Germany across all areas of mutual benefit, and that he looked forward to receiving Baerbock in Islamabad in April to continue their discussions.

For her part, Baerbock appreciated Qureshi for sharing Pakistan’s perspective on bilateral and regional issues and said she, too, looked forward to continuing these discussions, according to the FO.

This was the second phone conversation between the two foreign ministers in a month who agreed to remain in touch.

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