Updated: March 12, 2022 12:39:35 am
India acknowledged Friday that a “technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile” which Pakistan said landed 124 km deep inside its territory Wednesday.
Expressing regret, the Ministry of Defence expressed “relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident” and said a Court of Inquiry had been ordered.
Neither India nor Pakistan identified the missile.
Earlier, Pakistan summoned the Indian envoy in Islamabad and lodged a protest, calling for a transparent probe into the incident. A PTI report, quoting the Pakistan Foreign Office, said India’s Charge d’Affaires M Suresh Kumar was told about the alleged violation of its airspace by an Indian-origin “super-sonic flying object” which entered into Pakistan from Suratgarh in India at 6.43 pm (local time) on March 9. The object later fell on the ground near Mian Channu in Pakistan’s Punjab province at around 6.50 pm on the same day, causing damage to civilian property.
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In New Delhi, the Ministry of Defence, in a statement, said: “On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile. The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry. 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 statement came a day after Pakistan’s military spokesperson Major General Babar Ifthikar said that an unarmed Indian supersonic missile took off from Sirsa and landed near Mian Channu in Khanewal district, around 124 km inside Pakistani territory. The missile was cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet, he said.
No calls were made at the level of Directors General of Military Operations, and Ifthikar said the onus was on India to explain the incident.
He said that at 6.43 pm Wednesday “a high speed flying object was picked up inside Indian flying territory by the Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force. From its initial course, the object suddenly maneuvered towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace.”
Pakistan claimed the missile was initially headed towards India’s Mahajan field firing ranges but after travelling around 70-80 km, it changed direction while maintaining the same altitude and speed and headed towards Pakistani airspace.
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