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Pakistan nearly launched retaliatory strike in response to India's accidental missile launch

Pakistan’s Air Force said it tracked the flight path of the missile from the northern Indian town of Sirsa to its landing spot in Mian Channu city (AP)Premium
Pakistan’s Air Force said it tracked the flight path of the missile from the northern Indian town of Sirsa to its landing spot in Mian Channu city (AP)

  • The Indian missile ended up damaging some residential property but caused no casualties
  • However, India did not use the direct hotline between the top army commanders on both sides to inform Pakistan of the missile

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An accidental missile fired by India last week nearly led to a retaliatory strike by Pakistan, reported news agency Bloomberg on Wednesday, quoting people familiar with the matter. 

Pakistan had reportedly prepared to launch a similar missile to strike India but did not do so because an initial assessment indicated “something was amiss".

The Indian Air Force fired the BrahMos medium-range cruise missile on 9 March from the garrison town of Ambala, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the capital New Delhi, as per reports. 

The mishap occurred due to human and technical errors during a routine exercise to check systems capable of taking offensive action in war.

The Indian missile ended up damaging some residential property but caused no casualties.

Pakistan’s Air Force said it tracked the flight path of the missile from the northern Indian town of Sirsa to its landing spot in Mian Channu city in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

While all cruise missiles have designated targets, the one fired did not arm itself because it failed to reach the intended destination.

However, India did not use the direct hotline between the top army commanders on both sides to inform Pakistan of the missile.

Instead, Air Force officials moved to shut down the missile systems to avoid any further launches, BB quoted officials as saying. 

Pakistan held a briefing to publicize the incident a day later after failing to hear an explanation from India, which finally offered a response on Friday following the Pakistani protest over the launch.

On Thursday night last week, Pakistan summoned India's Charge d'Affaires at in Islamabad and conveyed its strong protest over the "unprovoked" violation of its airspace by the supersonic "projectile" of Indian origin.

The Indian Air Force is currently reviewing what went wrong as well as any changes to standard operating procedures for missile launches.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, defence minister Rajnath Singh said an inquiry would reveal the exact reasons that led to the accidental launch. “India gives utmost priority to the safety and security of its missile systems and any gap revealed by the probe will be addressed," he said.

The minister also said Indian armed forces are well-trained and disciplined and are well experienced in handling such systems.

"I would also like to state that a review of the Standard Operating Procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections is being conducted in the wake of this incident. We attach the highest priority to the safety and security of our weapon systems. If any shortcoming is found, the same would be immediately rectified," Singh said.

With inputs from agencies. 

 

 

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