India says it accidentally fired missile into Pakistan, no one hurt
Defense Ministry calls incident 'deeply regrettable,' high-level inquiry ordered
NEW DELHI / ISLAMABAD
India on Friday said that this week it accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan due to a "technical malfunction" during routine maintenance, but the incident caused no casualties.
This Wednesday, “routine maintenance ... 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," said a Defense Ministry statement.
The ministry said they learned 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," the statement said.
The statement comes a day after Pakistan’s military said that a high-speed flying object fired from India fell in the country's southern part and damaged property on the ground.
“From its initial course, the object suddenly maneuvered towards Pakistani Territory and violated Pakistan Air Space ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6:50 PM/ also damaging some civilian property,” army spokesman Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar told a news conference at army headquarter in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad on Thursday.
“Thankfully, no loss or injury to human life was caused,” he added.
However, Pakistan's national security adviser Moeed Yusuf says India's explanation beggared belief and urged an international investigation.
"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," Yusuf said in a series of Tweets.
He added that Indian move raises serious questions over its ability to handle such sensitive technology.
"This missile traveled close to the path of international and domestic commercial airlines and threatened the safety of civilians," he said.
He urged the world to treat the incident with the urgency, sensitivity, and alarm it deserves.
"In a nuclear environment, such callousness & ineptitude raises questions about the safety & security of Indian weapon systems. Already, there have been multiple incidents of uranium theft in India and its citizens have even been arrested while smuggling uranium in the recent past," Yusuf said.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry also summoned the Indian charge d’affaires in the capital Islamabad and lodged a strong protest over the violation of their country’s airspace.
Nuclear rivals and neighbors Pakistan and India have been locked in a string of disputes since the division of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the most prominent being over the disputed Himalayan valley of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan and India have fought three full-scale wars – 1948, 1965 and 1971 – including two over Kashmir.
Already fraught relations between the neighbors further plummeted since New Delhi scrapped the special status of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.