US, China call for direct talks between India-Pak after missile incident
Washington, March 15 (IANS): The US and China have urged India and Pakistan to hold direct talks for reducing tensions between the two nuclear-armed nations following the inadvertent firing of a missile on March 9, Dawn reported.
“We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern,” a US State Department official said on Monday when asked if Washington would urge India and Pakistan to hold direct talks on the recent missile incident and other issues.
Also on Monday, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign ministry supported Pakistan’s demand for a joint probe into the incident and emphasised the need for direct talks between the two neighbours on all issues, Dawn news reported.
“We called on relevant countries to have dialogue and communication as soon as possible and launch a thorough investigation into this incident,” spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing.
He also urged India and Pakistan to “strengthen information sharing and establish a notification mechanism in time to avoid the recurrence of such incidents and to prevent miscalculation”.
The Chinese official said that Pakistan and India were “both important countries in South Asia, bearing responsibilities for maintaining regional security and stability”.
Pakistan has said that it was not satisfied with New Delhi’s “simplistic explanation” and demanded a joint probe to establish the facts surrounding the incident.
According to India’s Defence ministry, in the course of a routine maintenance on March 9, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile.
It was only later learnt that the missile had landed inside the territory of Pakistan.
Pak rakes up Indian missile firing with UN chief
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and exchanged views with him on current regional and global issues, particularly the “blatant violation of Pakistans airspace by the ‘accidental’ firing, Dawn news reported.
Qureshi briefed Guterres on how the incident reflected India’s disregard for aviation safety as well as regional peace and stability.
Pakistan continued to act with restraint and responsibility, the Foreign minister said.
Noting “multiple shortcomings and technical lapses of a serious nature in India’s management of strategic weapons”, Qureshi said the incident was consistent with New Delhi’s “irresponsible conduct” and needed to be addressed by the international community, including the UN Security Council, and underscored Islamabad’s demand for a joint probe into the incident, Dawn reported.
On the situation in Ukraine, Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective on the ongoing conflict, its adverse economic impact on developing countries, and Islamabad’s efforts in support of a solution through dialogue and diplomacy.
On his part, Guterres apprised the Foreign minister of the recent initiatives being explored by the UN to address skyrocketing inflation worldwide in the wake of the situation in Ukraine.