The Foreign Office on Wednesday said that Indian media’s reports about the International Atomic Energy Agency DG calling the BrahMos missile incident “not a cause of specific concern” were a “disingenuous attempt” to absolve India of its “irresponsible nuclear behaviour”.
The BrahMos missile – a nuclear-capable, land-attack cruise missile was fired into Pakistan territory on March 9, prompting authorities to seek answers from New Delhi on the safety mechanisms to prevent accidental launches.
In a report on Nov 14, The Indian Express quoted IAEA as saying that it did not see the incident as any cause of “specific concern”. In an interview with The Indian Express at COP27 climate change conference, IAEA DG Rafael Mariano Grossi said that the watchdog didn’t seek any information from the Indian government on the incident.
Responding, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that the report should have “been qualified by stating that IAEA has no mandate on such matters”. “The DG’s response cannot be purposely misinterpreted to trivialise the incident of a nuclear-capable BrahMos missile fire with grave implications for regional and global security.
“The incident has raised several questions about India’s conduct as a nuclear state, including whether it was actually an accident. India also needs to answer questions about the underlying intentions, technical features and reliability of the missile system, safety, security and nuclear command and control protocols, and the presence of rogue elements in the Indian military,” the FO spokesperson said. She added that India needed to explain “several repeated incidents” of nuclear and radioactive material theft and illicit trafficking, saying that they were more relevant to the IAEA mandate.