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FM Qureshi briefs UN on India’s ‘accidental’ missile fire

15 Mar, 2022
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in this photo collage. APP/Twitter
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in this photo collage. APP/Twitter

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has taken up the issue of India accidentally firing a missile into Pakistan with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, stressing that the incident was a blatant violation of Pakistan’s airspace and reflective of Delhi’s disregard for regional peace.

In a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, both the dignitaries shared views on prevailing regional and global issues, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office. The FM emphasised that Pakistan continued to act with “restraint and responsibility.”

Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major General Babar Iftikhar in a media briefing on March 10 said that a high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian territory by the Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force on March 9. “The projectile that entered the Pakistani airspace was a supersonic missile that originated from India and fell near Mian Channu, causing some damage to the surrounding areas,” he said.

Pakistan has already called for a joint probe of the incident after India regretted the March 9 incident in which a missile was “accidentally” launched from the country and entered Pakistani territory, crashing in the Mian Channu area of Khanwal district in Punjab.

Noting the multiple, serious shortcomings in India’s management of strategic weapons, he underscored Pakistan’s demand for a joint probe into the incident. “The incident was consistent with India’s irresponsible conduct and needed to be addressed by the international community, including the UN Security Council,” he said.

Qureshi and Guterres also discussed Pakistan-UN cooperation – including peacekeeping as well as overcoming challenges posed by Covid-19, sustainable development and climate change.

“On the Ukraine situation, the foreign minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on the ongoing conflict, its adverse economic impact on developing countries, and Pakistan’s efforts in support of a solution through dialogue and diplomacy,” read a statement from the Foreign Office.

FM Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been stressing from the outset that developing countries suffer the most from conflict anywhere in the world.

UN Secretary-General Guterres apprised the FM on the recent initiatives being explored by the world body to address sky-rocketing inflation worldwide in the wake of the situation in Ukraine. He also highlighted the need for collectively undertaking measures for countering disruptions in global supply chains which were leading to food and energy shortages with a particularly adverse impact on developing countries.

The FM lauded the UN secretary-general’s efforts and assured him of Pakistan’s full support in such endeavours.

Phone calls with German, Iranian FMs

FM Qureshi also spoke on the telephone with Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and underscored the “high value” Pakistan attached to its relations with Germany. The two foreign ministers agreed to remain in contact.

This was the second phone conversation between the two foreign ministers in a month.

“Pakistan is determined to further deepen its collaboration with Germany across all areas of mutual benefit,” it read, adding FM Qureshi said he looked forward to receiving his German counterpart in Islamabad to continue discussions in April.

Discussing the situation in Ukraine, he said that it was a “grave moment” in Europe’s history.

The FM apprised his German counterpart of PM Imran Khan’s phone conversation with European Council President Charles Michel, as well as his own phone calls with the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Russia and with EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “In all these contacts, Pakistan has 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,” FM Qureshi said.

The FM also briefed German FM Baerbock regarding the violation of Pakistan’s airspace by an Indian missile on March 9 2022.

FM Annalena appreciated the foreign minister for sharing their perspective on bilateral and regional issues and said that she looked forward to continuing these discussions.

FM Qureshi also had a telephone conversation with Iranian FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

“During the call, the two foreign ministers discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations and exchanged views on the regional situation. Both sides agreed to intensify efforts to further expand bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest,” a statement from the Foreign Office read.

He thanked the Iranian leadership’s consistent support to the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

FM Abdollahian extended felicitations on the 75th anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence.