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15 Mar, 2022 05:32

US, China react to India's missile launch into Pakistan

Washington sees the incident as nothing more than an accident, while Beijing urges for dialogue to avoid future mishaps
US, China react to India's missile launch into Pakistan

The United States and China have both weighed in after India unintentionally fired a missile into Pakistani territory last week, with Beijing suggesting the two sides investigate the incident and increase “information sharing” while the US State Department simply dubbed it an “accident.”

Asked about the March 9 missile launch – which New Delhi blamed on a “technical malfunction” and called “deeply regrettable” in an official apology – State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington accepts India’s account of the episode.

“We have no indication, as you also heard from our Indian partners, that this incident was anything other than an accident,” Price told reporters at a Monday news briefing, referring any additional questions to the Indian military.

Though India noted that it ordered a “high-level” probe into the mistaken launch last week, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said it is not satisfied with the “simplistic explanation” provided by New Delhi, demanding a joint investigation into the matter. Islamabad has also summoned India’s envoy to provide a full accounting of what happened.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was similarly asked to comment on the incident during a daily press conference on Monday, saying the ministry had seen the “relevant information” while suggesting the two sides find ways to avoid future “misunderstanding and misjudgment.”

“Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia, bearing responsibilities for maintaining regional security and stability,” he continued, adding that India and Pakistan should “hold dialogue and communication as soon as possible,” as well as “step up information sharing, and promptly establish a reporting mechanism so that such incidents will not happen again.”

India and Pakistan have been adversaries since 1947, when India secured its independence from Britain and was partitioned into separate states. The two sides have engaged in multiple wars and military clashes in the time since, including in 1965, 1971, 1999, and most recently in 2019.