PM briefed on missile issue, reviews defence situation

Meeting comes four days after Indian missile landed in Pakistan due to technical malfunction during routine maintenance

Updated - March 13, 2022 11:42 pm IST

Published - March 13, 2022 09:04 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a high-level meeting to review security preparedness in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a high-level meeting to review security preparedness in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Sunday to discuss Indian security preparedness. The meeting, which dealt with the war in Ukraine and also the defence situation in the neighbourhood, came four days after an Indian unarmed missile, launched accidentally, landed inside Pakistan. The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla. Home Minister Amit Shah did not attend the meeting as he was in Gujarat.

“The Prime Minister was briefed on latest developments and different aspects of India’s security preparedness in the border areas as well as in the maritime and air domain,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement that didn’t directly refer to the missile incident that occurred on March 9, but indicated that border security was at the top of the agenda. The meeting is also understood to have discussed the global security scenario in response to the war in Ukraine, and sanctions against Russia.

“The Prime Minister was also briefed on the latest developments in Ukraine, including the details of Operation Ganga to evacuate Indian nationals, along with some citizens of India’s neighbouring countries, from Ukraine,” the PMO said, adding that Mr. Modi asked for all efforts to be made to bring back the mortal remains of Naveen Shekharappa, who died in Kharkiv on March 1 during shelling by Russian forces.

Sources said that the PM was briefed separately about the government’s responses to the incident involving a missile that accidentally misfired on Wednesday, and landed 124 km into Pakistan’s Punjab province. A statement issued by the Ministry of Defence said that the missile firing had been “accidental”, and was caused by a technical malfunction during “routine maintenance”, adding that the government had taken a “serious view” of the lapse and ordered a high-level court of inquiry into it.

While the initial fallout from the missile landing in Pakistan’s Punjab province was apparently managed after Indian and Pakistani military channels communicated about the incident, and New Delhi issued a statement admitting the missile malfunction and calling the incident “deeply regrettable”, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has subsequently served India’s Charge D’Affaires Suresh Kumar  two demarches, including one on Saturday where it demanded a “joint probe” into the incident.

Sources said that while the issue had been dealt with bilaterally thus far, it appeared from Pakistan’s most recent statements that the Imran Khan government was planning to take the missile incident to multilateral forums, as it called on the international community to “take serious notice of this incident of grave nature in a nuclearized environment”.

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