The missile that was accidentally launched from India into Pakistan earlier this month traversed the paths of several commercial flights that were operating within an hour of the misfire, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
A Flydubai flight from Dubai to Sialkot, an IndiGo flight from Srinagar to Mumbai and an Airblue flight from Lahore to Riyadh were among the ones that crossed the missile’s path within an hour after it had been launched, the news website reported, citing data from flight-tracking portal Flightradar24.
Indian authorities had not issued any warning to pilots operating commercial flights in the region at the time, according to Bloomberg.
Mark Martin, the founder of aviation consultancy firm Martin Consulting, noted that the incident could have turned into a full-blown conflict.
“The bigger concern is what if it was taken as a hostile action by Pakistan?” Martin said, according to Bloomberg. “We can’t brush it under the carpet, those accountable must be held accountable.”
On Tuesday, the news website had reported that Pakistan had prepared to launch a missile as retaliatory action after the misfire. Islamabad, however, held back from the retaliatory strike after a preliminary assessment suggested that something was amiss, Bloomberg quoted people “familiar to the matter” as saying.
On March 9, Pakistan had said that a high-speed Indian missile had crashed near Mian Channu city in Khanewal district. Pakistani authorities said that the missile had damaged civilian property. However, the misfire did not cause any casualties.
On March 11, India had expressed regret and said that a court of inquiry had been ordered into the matter. The defence ministry said a “technical malfunction” during routine maintenance led to the misfire.
On Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that his country observed restraint despite the misfiring.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that a high-level inquiry has been ordered to find out the exact cause. He stressed said that India’s missile systems are “highly reliable and safe”.