India says accidentally fired missile into Pakistan, orders probe
Pakistan said the ‘super-sonic flying object’ entered its territory from Suratgarh side in Rajasthan at 6.43 pm PST and fell to ground near Mian Chunnu city at around 6.50 pm.
India on Friday said that it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan on March 9, attributing the unheard-of incident to a “technical malfunction.” The government said it had taken a strong view of the incident and ordered a high-level court of inquiry, on a day Pakistan registered a strong protest over the “unprovoked violation of its airspace by a super-sonic flying object of Indian origin.”
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile. It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident,” the Indian defence ministry said in a statement without giving out further details.
While India did not name the missile that was fired accidentally, officials said it could have been the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.
“It is likely that a technical failure led to the accidental firing. But such incidents can create complications keeping in mind that both countries are nuclear armed and have a history of conflict,” said Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retd), director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.
The charge d’affaires of India in Islamabad was on Friday summoned to the Pakistani foreign office over the missile incident. Pakistan said the ‘super-sonic flying object’ entered its territory from Suratgarh side in Rajasthan at 6.43 pm PST and fell to ground near Mian Chunnu city at around 6.50 pm.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Pakistan foreign office said the Indian diplomat was conveyed that the “imprudent launch” of the flying object not only caused damage to civilian property but also put at risk human lives on ground. “Besides, the flight path of the flying object endangered several domestic/international flights within Pakistani airspace and could have resulted in a serious aviation accident as well as civilian casualties,” the release said.
The Indian diplomat was told to convey to New Delhi Pakistan’s strong condemnation of the blatant violation of its airspace in contravention of the established international norms and aviation safety protocols. “Such irresponsible incidents were also reflective of India’s disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability,” the Pakistan foreign office said.
Pakistan also demanded a “thorough and transparent investigation,” urging that findings of the probe be shared with it. Islamabad also cautioned India to be mindful of “the unpleasant consequences” of such negligence.
In a media briefing on Thursday night, a Pakistani military official said its air defence network picked up the flying object near Sirsa in Haryana around 104 km from the international border. He said it was picked at an altitude of 40,000 feet and was flying at a speed of Mach 2.5 to Mach 3.
The initial course of this projectile was on the south westerly heading and it appeared to be initially heading towards the Mahajan field firing ranges in Rajasthan, he said. However, after travelling 70 to 80 km on this heading, it changed track to head north-west towards Pakistani airspace, he added.