Pakistan armed forces prepared to retaliate as an “accidentally launched” Indian missile landed in its territory last week, Bloomberg revealed, citing unnamed sources.
The South Asian country held back from firing a missile in response as an anomaly was noticed in the Indian projectile — reportedly a Brahmos cruise missile — during “initial assessment,” the outlet added without specifying.
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar stated: ”On March 9, at 6:43 pm, a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistan Air Force.”
“From its initial course, the object suddenly maneuvered towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace, ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50 pm.”
I would like to inform the august House that Government has taken serious note of the incident. A formal high level inquiry has been ordered. The inquiry would determine the exact cause of the said accident: RM
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) March 15, 2022
‘Human, Technical Errors’
The unarmed missile flew about 124 kilometers (77 miles) inside Pakistan for 3 minutes and 44 seconds, falling in Khanewal district and damaging “civilian properties.” No casualties were reported in the incident.
Bloomberg wrote that the missile was fired from the north Indian city of Ambala, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Delhi, during “a routine exercise to check systems capable of taking offensive action in the war,” attributing the launch to human and technical errors.
The launch prompted Indian Air Force officials to rush to “shut down the missile systems to avoid any further launches.” However, the country did not use a direct hotline between senior army officials of the two nations to inform Pakistan of the launch.
Pakistan revealed the launch a day later, followed by an Indian government statement acknowledging the incident.
Pakistani officials criticized the delay in Indian response and questioned the safety of the country’s “nuclear and other high end” systems. Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf lambasted India on Twitter, questioning whether it “was an inadvertent launch or something more intentional.”
On March 9th, a supersonic projectile from India traveling at 40,000 feet covered over 250 km & landed inside Pakistani territory. It has taken more than 2 days for India to accept that this was their missile launched ostensibly due to a technical malfunction during maintenance.
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) March 11, 2022
Meanwhile, The Print cited sources reporting that Indian officials did inform Pakistan of the incident before it was made public. The Indian government has launched an inquiry to determine the exact cause of the mishap.