- 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, says New Delhi
NEW DELHI: India said on Friday it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan because of a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance.
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the government said in a statement.
“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 ministry said the government had “taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry” into the incident.
New Delhi’s statement comes as Pakistan lodged a strong protest over the unprovoked violation of its airspace, calling for a thorough and transparent investigation.
In a statement issued on Friday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said that 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 the 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,” FO said.
The statement said that the Indian diplomat was further told to convey to New Delhi Pakistan’s strong condemnation of “this blatant violation of Pakistani 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 statement added.
“Pakistan calls for a thorough and transparent investigation of the incident, the outcome of which must be shared with Pakistan.
“Moreover, the Government of India is cautioned to be mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence off such violations in future.”
On March 9, a projectile had crashed near Mian Chunnu city and caused damage to civilian property.
Following this, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Maj General Babar Iftikhar said that the high-speed flying object that crashed in Mian Channu was a supersonic missile that originated from India.
His remarks came during a press conference on Thursday, where he added that India has to explain the incident. The DG ISPR said that the Pakistan Army was also conducting a detailed inquiry into this matter.
“As a responsible nation, we will wait for India to respond,” he had said. “We have given details of whatever we know right now. But it is for the Indians to explain what happened in Mian Channu.”
A Pakistan air force official said the object travelled at an altitude of 40,000 feet, at Mach 3, and flew 124 kilometres (77 miles) in Pakistani airspace before crashing.
Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations. “Given the incident … India-Pak should be talking about risk mitigation,” Ayesha Siddiqa, an expert on military affairs and South Asian matters, said on Twitter.
“Both states have remained confident about control of nuclear weapons but what if such accidents happen again & with more serious consequences?”
Happymon Jacob, a professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said both sides handled the situation well.
“It gives me great hope that the 2 nuclear weapon states dealt with the missile incident in a mature manner,” he wrote on Twitter. “New Delhi should offer to pay compensation for the Pak house that was destroyed.”