India on Friday said a missile that landed in Pakistan two days back was fired “accidentally” due to a technical malfunction and it was “deeply regrettable”. The defence ministry also announced ordering a ‘Court of Enquiry’ into the incident a day after Pakistan said a high-speed projectile launched from India entered its airspace and fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district.
On Thursday night, Pakistan summoned the Charge d’Affaires at the Indian embassy in Islamabad and conveyed its strong protest over the “unprovoked” violation of its airspace by what it described as a supersonic “projectile”.
“On March 9, 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,” the defence ministry 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,” it said.
People familiar with the matter said the probe team will investigate all possible aspects of the incident.
Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, the Director-General of the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan, claimed on Thursday evening that the unarmed projectile launched from India entered the Pakistani airspace travelling 124 km and fell near Mian Channu.
“At 6.43 pm, a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the Air Defence Operation Centre of the Pakistan Air Force. From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards the Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6.50 pm,” he said.
“It was a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed,” Iftikhar said.
Though Indian officials did not specify the name of the missile, the description given by the Pakistan military indicated that it could be a Brahmos missile. However, there is no confirmation of it yet.
Iftikhar said the Pakistan Air Force continuously monitored the complete flight path of the flying object from its point of origin near Sirsa in India till its point of impact near Mian Channu.
The Pakistan Foreign Office summoned the Indian Charge d’Affaires and registered its protest over what it described as an “unprovoked” violation of its airspace and that such “irresponsible incidents” reflected India’s “disregard for air safety”. (PTI)