India has formally admitted and ordered a high-level investigation into a missile that landed in Punjab province’s Mian Channu city.
“On 9 March 2022, during routine maintenance, a technical malfunction resulted in the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The Indian government has taken a serious stance and has appointed a high-level court of inquiry.”
“It has been learned that the missile landed in Pakistan.” While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a source of relief that no one was killed as a result of it.”
The news comes a day after Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), revealed that an Indian “supersonic flying object” had entered Pakistani airspace and crashed near Mian Channu in Khanewal district, causing some damage.
“A high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian territory by the Air Defence Operation Centre of the Pakistan Airforce at 6:43pm [on Wednesday], a high-speed flying object was picked up by the Air Defence Operation Centre of the Pakistan Airforce,” the DG ISPR told journalists in Rawalpindi.
“Pakistan strongly condemns this egregious violation and warns against any future occurrences,” army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar told reporters. “Whatever caused this incident, the Indians must explain themselves,” he demanded.
According to Maj General Iftikhar, Pakistan’s air defence system intercepted the surface-to-surface rocket as soon as it took off from Sirsa, India, about 104 kilometres from the Pakistani border, and “continuously monitored” its entire flight path.
“From its initial course, the object abruptly changed course and violated Pakistani airspace, eventually landing near Mian Channu,” he said.
According to the general, the missile flew at a height of 12 kilometres and stayed in Pakistani airspace for 204 seconds before landing 124 kilometres inside Pakistan in Punjab’s eastern border province.
“It also caused some civilian property damage when it fell.” Thankfully, no human life was lost or injured,” he said, noting that no sensitive military installations were in the area of impact. According to him, the incident could have caused a major aviation disaster as well as civilian casualties on the ground.
In response, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued a statement late Friday condemning the unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian-made “supersonic flying object.”
“Such irresponsible incidents reflect India’s disregard for air safety as well as its callous disregard for regional peace and stability,” the ministry said in a statement. It demanded that the incident be investigated thoroughly and openly.