New Delhi on Friday admitted that a missile that had crashed in Pakistan on Thursday had been launched from India. The Union defence ministry said that during a routine maintenance, “a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing” of the missile.
“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. An inquiry has been ordered into the matter.
The clarification came after Pakistan on Thursday summoned India’s charge d’affaires. Islamabad said that a high-speed Indian projectile entered its airspace and crashed near Mian Channu city in Khanewal district, damaging some civilian property, PTI reported.
Major General Babar Iftikhar, director general of the Inter-Service Public Relations of Pakistani Armed Forces, at a press conference said that the incident took place on Wednesday.
At a press briefing on Thursday, Iftikhar had said that the a “high-speed flying object” was discovered inside Indian flying territory by the Pakistani Air Force Air at 6.43 pm.
“From its initial course the object suddenly manoeuvred towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6.50 pm,” he said.
No deaths or injuries were reported, he stated. The Pakistan Air Force, Iftikhar said, had 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 major general added that the Pakistani Air Force has “initiated requisite tactical actions in accordance” with the Standard Operating Procedures. He alleged that the flight path of the “object” endangered many international and domestic passenger flights, both in Indian and Pakistani airspace, as well as human life and property.
“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain,” Iftikhar said. “It, nevertheless, shows their disregard for aviation safety and reflects very poorly on their technology prowess and procedural efficiency.”
He claimed the incident could have resulted in a major aviation disaster.
“Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in future,” the major general added.
Pakistan Air Force spokesperson Tariq Zia said that an analysis of the debris showed it was a supersonic missile, but unarmed, The Indian Express reported.
“The Indian charge d’affaires was told to convey to the Government of India Pakistan’s strong condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistani airspace in contravention of the established international norms and aviation safety protocols,” the foreign office had said in a statement said on Thursday.