India accidentally fired a missile at Pakistan due to a ‘technical malfunction’
India said on Friday it had mistakenly fired a missile at Pakistan this week due to a “technical failure” during routine maintenance, and gave its version of events after Pakistan summoned India’s envoy to protest.
Military experts have warned in the past of the risks of accidents or miscalculations by the nuclear-armed neighbors, who have fought three wars and numerous smaller armed clashes, usually over the disputed Kashmir region.
Tensions have eased in recent months, and the accident, which may be the first of its kind, immediately raised questions about safety mechanisms.
“On March 9, 2022, while carrying out routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to an accidental launch of a missile,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
“It is learned that the missile fell in an area of Pakistan. While the accident is very unfortunate, it is a relief that no loss of life was caused by the accident.”
The ministry said that the government “took a serious position and ordered the formation of a high-level investigative court.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Indian Chargé d’Affairs in Islamabad to lodge a protest over what it described as an unjustified violation of its airspace, saying the incident could endanger passenger flights and civilian lives.
Pakistan warned India “to be aware of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and to take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in the future.”
“India Pak should talk about mitigating risks,” tweeted Aisha Seddiqa, an expert on military and South Asian affairs.
“The two countries remained confident about controlling nuclear weapons, but what if such incidents happened again and had more serious consequences?”
A Pakistani military spokesman said at a press conference Thursday evening that a “high-speed flying object” from the northern Indian city of Sirsa crashed in eastern Pakistan near the city of Mian Chanu.
“The flight path of this body was threatening many national and international passenger flights in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as lives and property on the ground,” he said.
A Pakistan Air Force official said the object, which flew at 40,000 feet and three times the speed of sound, flew 124 kilometers in Pakistani airspace.
Habimon Jacob, professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said both sides have handled the situation well.
“It gives me great hope that the two nuclear powers handled the missile accident in a mature manner,” he wrote on Twitter. New Delhi should offer compensation for Buck’s house, which was destroyed.
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