USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes
Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances

11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,”

said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes  are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.

About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2

, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2

from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more

about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

Biden is NOT Helping the Nuclear Situation

US President, Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle Saturday in Warsaw, Poland. Biden arrived  yesterday, meeting with the Polish president as well as U.S. troops stationed near the Ukrainian border.  (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)
US President, Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle Saturday in Warsaw, Poland. Biden arrived yesterday, meeting with the Polish president as well as U.S. troops stationed near the Ukrainian border. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

Biden declares Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ during address in Poland; Russian missile reportedly hits Lviv: Recap

Michael Collins, Ana Faguy, Ella Lee, Maureen Groppe and Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

Sun, March 27, 2022, 4:20 AM·27 min read

This story recounts all that occurred Saturday in the war in Ukraine. For the latest news, see our latest live updates story.

In a sweeping and forceful speech concluding a four-day trip to Europe, President Joe Biden cast the war in Ukraine on Saturday as part of an ongoing battle for freedom and ended with a blunt call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be stopped.

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said during a visit to Warsaw, Poland, in his strongest comments to date about his desire to see Putin gone.

Shortly after the speech, a White House official speaking on the condition of anonymity said Biden was not calling for Putin to be removed from office.

“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region,” the official said. “He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that “it’s not up to the president of the U.S. and not up to the Americans to decide who will remain in power in Russia.”

“Only Russians, who vote for their president, can decide that,” Peskov said.

Biden’s speech was delivered hours after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda during a historic visit Saturday where the allies presented a united front against Russian aggression and reaffirmed their commitment to the NATO alliance.

Biden later met with Ukrainian refugees, including children who asked him to “say a prayer for my dad or my grandfather or my brother. He’s back there fighting.”

Biden’s visit comes as Moscow appears to be recalibrating its military strategies in Ukraine, even as several media outlets reported a Russian missile struck a fuel depot in the western Ukraine city of Lviv which has largely escaped the devastation other parts of the nation have suffered.

U.S. President Joe Biden, third from left, and Polish President Andrzej Duda shake hands during a military welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
U.S. President Joe Biden, third from left, and Polish President Andrzej Duda shake hands during a military welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, March 26, 2022.

Russia’s military goals in Ukraine have been hazy since it began its invasion more than a month ago, and new statements suggest Moscow may consider claiming victory without completely overthrowing the Ukrainian government or capturing Kyiv.

Western analysts and leaders were skeptical of the Friday statements, where the deputy chief of the Russian general staff said his forces had largely achieved the “main objectives” of a first phase of the conflict. The power of the Ukrainian military has been “considerably reduced,” freeing up troops to “focus on the main efforts to achieve the main goal, liberation of Donbas,” said Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi.

The implications of the statement are difficult to determine, according to Stephen Biddle, a professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University who has studied U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

“It’s plausible that they’re basically trying to ratchet their perceived war aims down to something they’ve already accomplished,” he said.

Before the invasion, portions of the Donbas in southeastern Ukraine were already controlled by Russian-backed forces. Similarly skeptical, French President Emmanuel Macron said “it’s too soon to say” whether the Russians have changed their approach.

But what does appear clear: In the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, the progress of Russian forces has largely stalled. Kyiv — while battered — remains under the control of the Ukrainian government.

Latest developments

►In remarks from Warsaw, President Joe Biden slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “butcher” for the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and said the West “has never been stronger.” Poland has been on the front lines of the refugee crisis, having accepted some 2 million Ukrainians fleeing the war.

►Several media outlets reported that the western city of Lviv, largely spared from the bombardments in other parts of the nation was struck by a Russian missile Saturday. The mayor of the city says one of the targets was a fuel depot.

►The U.N. human rights office said it has been challenging to confirm fatalities in Mariupol given the organization’s strict methodology for counting the number of civilian deaths in conflict. The office says at least 1,035 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,650 injured, but acknowledges that is an undercount.

► The governor of the Kyiv region says that Russian forces have entered the city of Slavutych in northern Ukraine and seized a hospital there.

► Britain has seized two jet aircraft belonging to Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler as Western governments put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin by targeting the luxury lifestyles of his closest supporters. The Times of London described the aircraft as a $45 million Bombardier Global 6500 and a $13 million Cessna Citation Latitude.

After four days of alliance building, emotional interactions with refugees and stirring words about the need to fight for democracy, one sentence that President Joe Biden appeared to tack on to the end of his final speech in Poland threatened to overshadow all he had achieved as he deals with the most significant foreign policy crisis of his presidency.

“For God’s sake,” Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “this man cannot remain in power.”

The White House tried to quickly walk it back.

Biden was not promoting regime change, said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The point the president was trying to make in his remarks was that Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”

Biden may have been saying what he believes, but it was not smart policy to say it aloud, said Tom Schwartz, a historian of U.S. foreign relations at Vanderbilt University. Read more here.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin on Saturday said President Joe Biden’s statement that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” was “extremely negative” for U.S. relations with Russia.

“Only Russians, who vote for their president, can decide that,” Dmitry Peskov told The Associated Press. “And of course it is unbecoming for the president of the U.S. to make such statements.”

The White House walked back Biden’s initial statements in Poland, claiming the president was not endorsing regime change, but meant that “Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”

Peskov said that with Biden’s statements, he was “narrowing the window of opportunity for our bilateral relations under the current administration.”

Just Another American Lie: Daniel 8

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken (left), with the Israeli prime minister, Naftai Bennett, in Jerusalem
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken (left), with the Israeli prime minister, Naftai Bennett, in Jerusalem on Sunday. Photograph: Abir Sultan/UPI/Rex/Shutterstock

Iran will never acquire nuclear weapons, US promises Israel

Antony Blinken seeks to reassure Israel and Gulf allies ahead of possible renewal of nuclear deal

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editorSun 27 Mar 2022 11.54 EDT

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has sought to reassure Israel and its Gulf allies that Iran will never acquire atomic weapons, ahead of the possible renewal of the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“When it comes to the most important element, we see eye to eye,” Blinken said at a news conference on Sunday with Israel’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid. “We are both committed, both determined, that Iran will never acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Blinken’s comments came before a meeting with four Arab foreign ministers at an extraordinary summit hosted by Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett – an event that in itself shows how the landscape of Israel’s relations with some Arab states has been transformed in the past 18 months, driven partly by fears about the imminent end of Iran’s economic isolation.

The US also sought to reassure the ad hoc alliance that Washington would not agree to Iran’s demand for the US to lift its designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organisation.

Speaking at the Doha forum in Qatar, Robert Malley, the US special envoy on Iran, said: “This is not a deal that is intended to resolve that issue. Many in the region view the IRGC in the same way we view them. I can tell you that the IRGC will remain sanctioned under US law, and our perceptions, our views, our policy towards the IRGC have not changed.”

A senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader insisted earlier at the same event that the removal of the IRGC from sanctions was a precondition for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. Talks on the deal have been under way for nearly a year in Vienna.

“The IRGC is the national army and the national army cannot be listed as a terrorist group,” said Sayyid Kamal Kharrazi. “The real thing is that IRGC is very important for Iran and they are not going to compromise on that.”

The IRGC is a centrepiece of the Iranian’s regime’s power base, and its activities in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have, in Iran’s eyes, been central to reducing the influence of Islamist terrorism, the US, and Gulf monarchies that depend on the US for their power.

The corps has been designated as a terrorist organisation since 2019 and had sanctions imposed upon it in 2017, but its activities across the Middle East have been kept off the table by Iran, which has insisted the agenda focus solely on the terms for America’s return to the nuclear deal.

The US walked out of the deal in 2018, leading Iran in stages to reduce its own commitments under the deal, including expanding its ability to enrich uranium.

Malley said the Biden administration could promise only that the US under its watch would remain in the deal so long as Iran remains in compliance with its terms.

Kharrazi said there were 500 other individuals and institutions subject to US sanctions that had “direct impact” on Iran’s relations with the west, and called for the US to take actions on those too.

Kharrazi, a former foreign minister, is the president of Strategic Council on Foreign Relations in Tehran and his views are closely in line with those of the Iranian regime.

Malley refused to be upbeat about a deal, saying: “We have been pretty close for some time and that I think that tells you the difficulty of the issues that remain.”

Also on Sunday, the EU’s coordinator for the nuclear talks met Iran’s foreign minister and its chief negotiator. “Working on closing the remaining gaps in the #ViennaTalks,” the EU diplomat Enrique Mora tweeted before his trip. “We must conclude this negotiation. Much is at stake.”

In the US, Republican and Democrat senators are coming together to form an alliance this week to block any recognition of the IRGC or any lifting of sanctions on the organisation.

In a joint statement last week, the Israeli prime minister and foreign minister said: “The IRGC is a terrorist organisation that has murdered thousands of people including Americans. We refuse to believe that the US would remove its designation as a terrorists organisation. The IRGC are Hezbollah in Lebanon, Jihad in Gaza, they are Houthis in Yemen, they are the militias in Iraq. They kill Jews because they are Jews, they kill Christians because they are Christian, and Muslims because they refuse to surrender to them.”

Speaking in Israel, Blinken nevertheless defended the principle of trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal, saying: “The US believes that a return to full implementation of the deal is the best way to put Iran’s nuclear programme back in the box that it was in, but has escaped from since the United States withdrew from that agreement.

“But whether there’s a deal or not, our commitment to the core principle of Iran never acquiring a nuclear weapon is unwavering. And one way or another, we will continue to coordinate closely with our Israeli partners on the way forward.”

The Israel summit was also attended by foreign ministers from Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Malley revealed that the British have taken on the task of negotiating the release of US dual nationals still held in Iran, including Morad Tabhaz, the tri-national who was not released nearly a fortnight ago along with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Roxanne Tahbaz, his daughter, has accused the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, of a betrayal of her family.

This is What the Bowls of Wrath Will Look Like: Revelation 16

March 27, 2022

By Rod Buntzen

Mr. Buntzen is the author of “The Armageddon Experience: A Nuclear Weapons Test Memoir.”

In the early days of his war against Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin told the world that he had ordered his nation’s nuclear forces to a higher state of readiness. Ever since, pundits, generals and politicians have speculated about what would happen if the Russian military used a nuclear weapon.

What would NATO do? Should the United States respond with its own nuclear weapons?

These speculations all sound hollow to me. Unconvincing words without feeling.

In 1958, as a young scientist for the U.S. Navy, I witnessed the detonation of an 8.9-megaton thermonuclear weapon as it sat on a barge in Eniwetok Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. I watched from across the lagoon at the beach on Parry Island, where my group prepared instrumentation to measure the atmospheric radiation. Sixty-three years later, what I saw remains etched in my mind, which is why I’m so alarmed that the use of nuclear weapons can be discussed so cavalierly in 2022.

Although the potential horror of nuclear weapons remains frozen in films from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the public today has little understanding of the stakes of the Cold War and what might be expected now if the war in Ukraine intentionally or accidentally spins out of control.

The test I witnessed, code-named Oak, was part of a larger series called Hardtack I, which included 35 nuclear detonations over several months in 1958. With world concern about atmospheric testing mounting, the military was eager to test as many different types of weapons as it could before any atmospheric moratorium was announced. The hydrogen bomb used in the Oak test was detonated at 7:30 a.m. A second bomb was set off at noon on nearby Bikini Atoll.

Operation Hardtack Oak, June 1958.

In a nuclear detonation, the thermal and shock effects are the most immediate and are unimaginable. The fission-fusion process that occurs in a thermonuclear explosion happens in a millionth of a second.

As I watched from 20 miles away, all the materials in the bomb, barge and surrounding lagoon water and air had been vaporized and raised to a temperature of tens of millions of degrees.

As the X-rays and neutrons from the bomb raced outward, they left the heavier material particles behind, creating a radiation front that was absorbed by the surrounding air. The radiation, absorption, reradiation and expansion processes continued, cooling the bomb mass within milliseconds.

The outer high-pressure shock region cooled and lost its opacity as it raced toward me, and a hotter inner fireball again appeared.

This point in the process is called breakaway, occurring about three seconds after detonation, when the fireball radius was already nearly 5,500 feet.

By now, the fireball had begun to rise, engulfing more and more atmosphere and sweeping up coral and more lagoon water into an enormous column. The ball of fire eventually reached a radius of 1.65 miles.

Time seemed to have stopped. I had lost my count of the seconds.

The heat was becoming unbearable. Bare spots at my ankles were starting to hurt. The aluminum foil hood I had fashioned for protection was beginning to fail.

I thought that the hair on the back of my head might catch on fire.

The brightness the detonation created defies description. I worried that my high-density goggles would fail.

Operation Hardtack Poplar, July 1958.

Keeping my eyes closed, I turned until I could see the edge of the fireball.

As I again turned away from the fireball, I opened my eyes inside the goggles and saw outlines of the trees and objects nearby.

The visible light penetrating my goggles increased, and the heat on my back grew more intense. I squirmed to distribute the heat from my side to my back.

About 30 or 40 seconds after detonation, I took off the goggles and watched the angry violet-red and brown cloud from the fireball.

As the rising cloud started to form a mushroom cap, I waited for the shock wave to arrive. In the distance, I could see a long vertical shadow approaching. I instinctively opened my mouth and moved my jaw side to side to equalize pressure difference across my eardrums, closed my eyes and put my hands over my ears.


It hit me like a full body slap, knocking me back. I opened my eyes to see another shadow approaching from a slightly different direction. Over the next few seconds, I felt several smaller blows created by reflections of the pressure wave off distant islands.

The fireball kept expanding and climbing at over 200 miles per hour, reaching an altitude of about 2 miles. The boiling mass 20 miles away turned into a mixture of white and gray vapor and continued its climb until it reached somewhere about 100,000 feet.

Meanwhile, the lagoon water had receded like a curtain being pulled back, and the sea bottom slowly appeared. Shark netting that usually protected swimmers lay on the bottom.

Finally, the water stopped receding and appeared to form a wall, like pictures of Moses parting the sea. The wall seemed to remain motionless before finally roaring back.

The water receded for a second time, then repeatedly in smaller and smaller waves and finally as minuscule oscillations across the lagoon surface that lasted all day.

Operation Hardtack Umbrella, June 1958.

Mankind conducted more than 500 nuclear tests in the atmosphere before moving operations underground, where we tested 1,500 more. Tests to verify the design of weapons. Tests to measure the impact of radiation on people. Tests to make political statements.

During my early Navy career, I focused on scenarios involving nuclear exchanges that could have killed tens of millions of people — what was known during the Cold War as mutually assured destruction.

But the end of the Cold War didn’t bring an end to these fearsome weapons.

Just a few months ago, in January, Russia, China, France, Britain and the United States issued a joint statement affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

“We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all,” the statement read.

If nuclear weapons are used in Ukraine, the biggest worry is that the conflict could spin quickly out of control. In a strategic war with Russia, hundreds of detonations like the one I witnessed could blanket our countries.

China is Forcing Australia to go Nuclear: Daniel 7

Prime Minister

by Taboola 

China stepping up nuclear military pressure on Australia ‘Emerging threat on our doorstep’

AUSTRALIA reports China has been stepping up nuclear pressure right on its doorstep.


12:57, Sat, Mar 26, 2022 | UPDATED: 12:57, Sat, Mar 26, 2022

Scott Morrison says Australia has ‘stepped up’ after China threat

Australian news from 9 News Australia explained how China could be stepping into a possible deal with the Solomon Islands, in the Pacific sea. Australian Government officials such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese explain the threat the possible alliance could be. Explaining that China would be then able to place military bases 2000km from Australia, causing a high threat due to it making launching an attack easier. Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed speaking to partner states in the Pacific and bolstering Australian defence.

The reporter said: “The election race is about to begin, first there’s a budget.”

Scott Morrison said: “It’s a plan which is about dealing with the cost of living relief now.”

Anthony Albanese said: “There budgets are always long on politics but short on plans.”

The reporter added: “The government has confirmed relief for older voters will be extended.

Scott Morrison (Image: News 9 Australia)

President of China

Xi Jinping (Image: Getty Images)

“Self-funded retirees are allowed to keep more money in their super and there will be big money spent on national security.

“Just as serious concerns grow inside the government over a possible deal between the Soloman Islands and China.

“Which could lead to a Chinese military base 2000km from the Australian coast.

Scott Morrison said: “We will work with our partner states in the Pacific to ensure there is a clear understanding of the risks and threats that we believe this poses.”

Anthony Albanese said: “Australia needs to up our presence in the Pacific.”

The reporter added: “The government’s concerns over China’s push has triggered a response from Bejing causing Ministers of being irresponsible and creating tension.”

Responding to the possible threat from China, Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton said: “We will have an announcement within the next couple of months about which boat we are going with, what we can do in the interim.

“Both the U.S. and the U.K. understand the timelines, they understand what is happening in the Indo-Pacific, and they are very, very willing partners.”

The Growing Risk of Nuclear War with Russia: Daniel 7

U.S. President Joe Biden talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a family photo with G7 leaders at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium (Photo: Reuters)

Prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons is ‘increasingly real’: Japan PM

Japan, the only country attacked by atomic weapons, has regularly spoken out against nuclear armaments.

U.S. President Joe Biden talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a family photo with G7 leaders at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium (Photo: Reuters)


  • Mar 26, 2022,
  • Updated Mar 26, 2022, 6:27 PM IST

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday the prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons was “increasingly real”, welcoming a visit by the U.S. ambassador to Hiroshima, the first city to suffer a nuclear attack.


Japan, the only country attacked by atomic weapons, has regularly spoken out against nuclear armaments. Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in parliament, visited the city’s peace memorial and museum on Saturday with envoy Rahm Emanuel.

“When the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia is increasingly real, I believe Ambassador Emanuel’s visit to Hiroshima and his experience of seeing the nuclear reality will become a strong message to the international society,” Kishida told public broadcaster NHK.

“I believe our visit was meaningful.”

He said Russia’s war in Ukraine shows the difficulties of creating a world without nuclear weapons.

Putin has not directly threatened a nuclear attack. But he warned, in launching his Feb. 24 invasion, that anyone hindering Russia would face “such consequences that you have never encountered in your history” – a statement some leaders took as a threat to use nuclear weapons. read more

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Russia would use nuclear weapons only to counter “an existential threat for our country”. 

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers on Thursday warned Russia not to use biological, chemical or nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine

How India’s Misguided Missile Could Have Sparked the First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

How India’s Misguided Missile Could Have Sparked a Nuclear War

On March 10, 2020, the director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) held a press briefing and announced that a day earlier, on March 9, 2022, a supersonic projectile that originated in India had traveled 124 kilometers at 40,000 feet into Pakistani airspace and crashed near the city of Mian Channu, Khanewal District, Pakistan. Two days later, India’s Ministry of Defence officially confirmed the incident, stating that a missile was “accidentally” fired during routine maintenance. The statement further asserted that the government had “taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry” into the incident.

While the incident’s specific details will come to the surface after thorough forensic analysis and investigation, the news of India “accidentally” firing a supersonic cruise missile at Pakistan, its nuclear-armed adversary, shocked many policymakers who are cognizant of the potential consequences of such an incident. Pakistan’s immediate response is being lauded as “mature” and “responsible”; however, Islamabad has demanded a joint investigation as it could have led to far more serious consequences.

First and foremost, the timing is suspicious: just a week after the Pakistani Navy detectedan Indian Navy submarine in its Exclusive Economic Zone, an Indian missile crashes inside Pakistan. This raises serious concerns about the intentions of India’s military leadership. It is fair to say that no system is 100 percent reliable, and accidents may happen due to unforeseen reasons, but the Indian government’s overall handling of this issue has been highly irresponsible. The very fact that Indian authorities did not use the self-destruct option after the “accidental” launch and did not even bother to inform the Pakistani side immediately has raised questions about India’s command and control system, its strategic culture, and its ability to handle such sensitive technology.

India’s official statement has not shared any information about the type of rogue missile, but the available information matches the flight profile of India’s BrahMos cruise surface-to-surface missile. While India has classified BrahMos as a conventional missile (primarily to avoid being labeled a violator of the Missile Technology Control Regime guidelines), it is capable of carrying a nuclear payload as well. Regardless of the stated classification, any incoming missile is likely to be interpreted as nuclear in a charged security environment because it is impossible to distinguish which payload an incoming missile is carrying. With India lately tempering its No First Use pledge and toying with the idea of preemptive counterforce targeting—where the Brahmos is likely to be the weapon of choicefor this strategy—Pakistan could have viewed this missile as New Delhi’s preemptive strike, especially in view of the current bilateral relationship.

It is imperative to determine whether this incident was the result of a safety failure or a security gap. According to initial reports, the Pakistan Air Force’s Air Defense Operation Center tracked the missile’s flight in its initial phase. Reportedly, it was launched from an Indian Air Force base under Western Air Command in Sirsa district, Haryana. The missile was detected at an altitude of 40,000 feet, suggesting it could have been launched from the air. It is, however, unlikely to be a test of an aerial version of Brahmos that went wrong, as no Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) was issued and the site is not known for missile tests. Indian missile tests are mostly conducted at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan or Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha on the Bay of Bengal. The nature of the incident raises concern about this claim of an accidental launch during maintenance and hints at potential complacency or massive violations of safety protocols by the concerned authorities.

The missile’s firing also posed a serious threat to civil aviation, as many commercial flights, such as Qatar and Saudi Airways, were flying on that route at the time of the missile launch. The Indian government could have issued an emergency NOTAM to the incoming aircraft to avoid a potential air disaster.

The incident also puts a question mark on the strength and scope of existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan. The 2004 hotline agreement was created for this very purpose—to inform one another of any emergency situation that may lead to any inadvertent crisis—but this necessary action was not taken by India. India and Pakistan have also agreed to pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles as well. In 2005, Pakistan proposed including pre-notification of cruise missile tests also, but India did not accept. While a ballistic missile test notification is meant to avoid inadvertent escalation as the ballistic trajectory of a missile can be misinterpreted as a preemptive strike by an adversary, cruise missile notification does not serve this purpose as the missile remains at low-flying trajectories and is difficult to track anyway. It is important to highlight that India acted against the spirit of this mutually agreed CBM as it did not notify Pakistan about its ballistic missile tests from undersea platforms as it considers the 2005 agreement to be meant only for surface-launched missiles only. Given such lacunas, it is important to consider expanding the scope of the Pak-India missile test agreement.

Nuclear responsibility is premised on the element of rationality. Given India’s post-2019 Balakot strike and subsequent jingoism by BJP’s Hindutva leadership, Pakistan has all the more reason to worry about this element of rationality slipping away from the Indian side. After downing an Indian aircraft in an air skirmish with Pakistan in February 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatened to unleash “a night of massacre” if Pakistan had not returned the detained pilot. Therefore, it is very likely that this might not be an accident after all and could have been an intentional act by some overzealous Hindutva commander. The Indian military has a history of being involved in terrorist activities with the aim to implicate Pakistan. A case in point is the involvement of Lt. Colonel Shrikant Prasad Purohit, who helped in carrying out terrorist attacks like the Samjhauta Expressblast (2007) and Malegaon bomb blast(2008).

All these developments are taking place when India is consistently increasing its alert level, especially in the missile domain. In order to reduce its launch time, India has been steadily doing away with different steps that may slow down a launch especially during a crisis, such as the canisterization of missiles, thereby increasing the risk of accidental or inadvertent launch. With a problematic strategic culture and the absence of a strong command and control system, such developments are a recipe for disaster for regional peace.

Regardless of whether the missile launch was accidental or intentional, this incident is a stark reminder that South Asia remains a nuclear flashpoint with any Broken Arrow potentially turning into a NucFlash. It also exposes the disproportionate focus on Pakistan alone and stark negligence of India’s poor nuclear safety and security record by Western scholars and governments alike. One hopes that this incident leads to some introspection in the Indian security establishment and the Indian government is willing to answer some hard questions

Sitara Noor is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @NoorSitara.

Image: Reuters.