INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE ORDERS A HIGH-LEVEL INQUIRY INTO THE ACCIDENTAL FIRING OF A MISSILE THAT BREACHED PAKISTANI AIRSPACE ON MARCH 9
The Indian Ministry of Defence has ordered a high-level inquiry into the accidental firing of a missile that breached Pakistani airspace and landed near Mian Chunnu city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The incident, caused by a technical malfunction, occurred around 6:50 p.m. on March 9, when the high-speed projectile travelled 124 kilometres into Pakistani airspace.
In a statement issued on March 11, the Indian Ministry of Defence stated: “On 9 March 2022, in the course of routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile. The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry.”
In a media briefing on March 10, Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director-General of the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan, had stated: “At 6.43 p.m., 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 p.m. When it fell it also damaged some civilian property. Thankfully no loss or injury to human life was caused.”
It was reported by the news agency PTI that Pakistan had summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad on March 11 and conveyed its strong protest over the alleged unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian-origin “super-sonic flying object” and sought a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident that could have resulted in a serious aviation accident.
The PTI report quoted the Pakistani Foreign Office statement which alleged that an Indian-origin “super-sonic flying object” had entered Pakistan from Suratgarh in India at 6:43 p.m. (local time) on March 9.
The Indian Ministry of Defence statement added: “It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. 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.”