The View from India | Misfired missile

Understand international affairs from the Indian perspective with View from India 

Updated - March 15, 2022 02:02 pm IST

Published - March 14, 2022 07:33 pm IST

Tabletop miniature flags for India and Pakistan at a meeting table for diplomatic discussions and negotiations.

Tabletop miniature flags for India and Pakistan at a meeting table for diplomatic discussions and negotiations. | Photo Credit: Kagenmi

This article forms a part of the View From India newsletter curated by The Hindu’s foreign affairs experts. To get the newsletter in your inbox every Monday, subscribe here.

On February 9, when the focus of the whole world was on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, a high-speed projectile entered the Pakistani airspace from India. According to the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan, the projectile travelled 124 km and fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district, damaging some civilian property though no casualties occurred. Two days later, India confirmed the incident. The Ministry of Defence said “a technical malfunction” prompted the misfiring of the missile. It is learnt” that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan, and the incident was “deeply regrettable”, the MoD said adding, “It is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident. Pakistan quickly demanded a “joint probe” into the accident and raised concerns about “India’s handling of strategic weapons”. “The grave nature of the incident raises several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorised launch of missiles in a nuclearised environment,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

India did not say which missile was involved. But the description by Pakistan — that the missile was travelling at three times the speed of sound, at 40,000 feet, and is a surface-to-surface missile — has led to speculation that the accident involves the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. In this editorial, we argue that India must leave no scope for any doubts about its capacity to handle nuclear and other military assets. “That objective can be achieved without a joint probe with Pakistan or any international involvement, but the objective must be achieved nevertheless.”

Ukraine war

With the Russian forces stepping up their attacks on Ukrainian cities and closing in on capital Kyiv, the government has decided to relocate its embassy, moving all officials across the border to Poland. The decision to move out of Ukraine came after the Russian attacks on the western Ukrainian town of Lviv near the Polish border, where the Indian embassy had set up a camp office for the past few weeks to facilitate the movement of Indian students fleeing the country. Officials from Russia and Ukraine continue talks in Belarus, but Russian attacks continue unabated. As the war entered the 19th day on Monday, Ukraine has already lost territories in the north, east and south.

Signalling compromise, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said early last week that he had “cooled down” on the question on NATO. He also offered talks about the future status of Crimea, which has been annexed by Russia, and Donetsk and Luhansk, the two breakaway republics. After Mr. Zelensky’s remark, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that there were “positive shifts” in talks with Ukraine. A member of the Russian negotiating team, Leonid Slutsky, said on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s talks, that he believed the “significant progress” he has observed in talks between Moscow and Kiev might soon lead the two sides to sign an agreement, reported RT. “If we compare the positions of both delegations at the talks, at the very beginning and today, we see significant progress. I am happy to report that in the next few days, this progress may develop into a joint position of the delegations and into documents to sign,” Mr. Slutsky said.

But it’s still not clear whether there’s a clear path towards peace. Even when Russia says it prefers a diplomatic solution, it continues its military operation without any respite. On Sunday, Russian missiles targeted a military training facility, which was a hub for military shipments and training foreign fighters, killing at least 35.

The top 5

  1. What are the Geneva Conventions guidelines during wartime?| Can the treaties protect those who have been affected by war, especially civilians and the wounded? Narayan Lakshman explains the Geneva Conventions in the context of Russia’s Ukraine attack.
  2. Vladimir Putin | Unpredictable populist| The Russian President has tightened control domestically, but faces a tough test in Ukraine due to the West’s stiff curbs, writes Stanly Johny.
  3. Can Donbas republics work as a buffer zone?| Is the de facto states model followed for Abkhazia, Transnistria and South Ossetia a possible way out for the Russia-Ukraine conflict? explains Uma Purushothaman.
  4. No ovation for India’s stand on the war on Ukraine| Refusing to take a firm line on the invasion while continuing to see itself as the world’s teacher is not credible, writes Pulapre Balakrishnan.
  5. An unnecessary war and its grave portents| Kyiv is paying a heavy price and a change of tack is needed, where the cardinal objective is to save lives and Ukraine, writes M.K. Narayanan.


Neighbourhood watch

  • The 15th round of Corps Commander talks between India and China failed to achieve a breakthrough for the next phase of disengagement in Eastern Ladakh. However, in a joint statement the two sides reaffirmed that a resolution of the “relevant issues” along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector would help restore peace and tranquillity and “facilitate progress in bilateral relations”.
  • India’s Adani Group has signed a deal for two large power projects in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, six months after it secured a strategic port terminal project in Colombo that it is now executing with majority stakes, reports Meera Srinivasan.
0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.