INDIA ACCIDENTALLY FIRES MISSILE INTO PAKISTAN: HOW SUCH INCIDENT CAN HAPPEN AND WHY IT COULD BE A BRAHMOS
While the Ministry of Defence did not reveal details of the type of missile that was fired, speculations have been doing the rounds that it was BrahMos due to the description provided by Pakistan
India on Friday said that a technical glitch led to the accidental firing of a missile into Pakistan during routine maintenance on 9 March.
The government has ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry into the incident. This came a day after Pakistan said that a “projectile from India entered its airspace.”
On 9 March, Director-General of the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan Major General Iftikhar told a press conference, “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”
The Pakistan Army said that it was “a supersonic surface-to-surface missile but certainly unarmed.”
It also claimed that the missile was “launched from Sirsa in Haryana and its endpoint was Mahajan Field Firing in Rajasthan.”
Was It A BrahMos?
While the Indian Ministry of Defence did not reveal details of the type of projectile that was fired, speculations have been doing the rounds that it was a BrahMos missile.
This is mainly because of the description provided by the Pakistan military. It said that the projectile travelled over 100 km into the Pakistani territory with a speed of Mach 3.
Mach is a speed measurement used for aircraft with Mach 1 being the speed of sound.
The BrahMos which is the world’s fastest cruise missile has a maximum speed of Mach 4. It can hit a target that is over 290 km away.
The distance between Sirsa and Mian Channu is 277 km. Sirsa also hosts a Sukhoi Su-30MKI base.
In 2017, India successfully carried out its first air launch of BrahMos from a Su-30MKI jet. Since then several such test firings have been conducted.
BrahMos Key Facts
A joint India-Russia venture, BrahMos is a medium-range missile that can be fired from submarines, warships, aircraft, and land.
It is named after two rivers- India’s Brahmaputra and Russia’s Moskva.
According to the BrahMos’ official website, the missile operates on the ‘fire and forget principle’ which means that the path taken by the missile depends on the target that was set at the time of the launch.
Notably, BrahMos is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Both Indian Army and the Air Force have BrahMos in their arsenal, The Print reported.
In 2017, the government had refused to reveal the number of Brahmos missiles deployed across India citing security concerns.
How Are Missiles Fired?
A missile system has five components: targeting, guidance system, flight system, engine and warhead. They can be fired from land, warships, and aircraft depending on the type. For example- surface-to-surface and air-to-surface.
According to The Print, in this case, the missile did not have a warhead indicating that it could be a test firing.
How Did Pakistan React?
On Friday, Pakistan summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad to lodge a protest over “unprovoked violation of its airspace.”
According to a PTI report, it also demanded that the Indian government launched a probe into the incident.
In 1997, an Indian Air Force MiG-25 jet flew into Pakistani airspace while on a reconnaissance mission.
According to a Business Today report, the aircraft broke the sound barrier, sending a powerful sonic boom over Islamabad before returning unchallenged to the Indian territory.