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A missile launched towards Pakistan, India claims, did so by mistake.

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After Pakistan warned the incident may have “unpleasant repercussions”, India announced on Friday it unintentionally launched a missile into Pakistan this week due to a “technical fault” during normal maintenance.

“A technological breakdown resulted in the inadvertent launch of a missile on March 9, 2022,” the Indian Ministry of Defence announced.

“The missile landed in Pakistan, sources said. While the tragedy is tragic, it is also a relief that no one was killed.”

The ministry stated the government “took the situation seriously and authorized a high-level Court of Enquiry.”

Later on Friday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry announced it had summoned India’s ambassador to protest an alleged unprovoked breach of its airspace. Pakistan demanded a probe into the event, which it claimed threatened civilians and passenger planes.

Pakistan cautioned India “to be aware of the painful implications of such irresponsibility and take appropriate efforts to prevent such breaches”.

They have fought three wars and had several military conflicts, most recently in 2019 when the two countries’ air forces engaged in battle. Both countries have nukes.

Ayesha Siddiqa, a military and South Asian affairs specialist, tweeted after the incident: “India-Pak should discuss on risk mitigation.”

But what if such an event occurs again, with more devastating consequences?

Major-General Babar Iftikhar claimed in a late-evening press conference on Thursday that a “high-speed flying object” fell in Mian Channu, Pakistan, and originated from Sirsa, Haryana, near New Delhi.

In Indian and Pakistani airspace, the object’s flight path jeopardized several domestic and international passenger flights, as well as human and property lives.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry has already asked India to submit its findings on the event.

A Pakistani air force officer stated the object traveled 124 kilometres (77 miles) through Pakistani airspace before landing.

Both sides, said Happymon Jacob, an international studies professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“It gives me great optimism that the two nuclear-armed governments handled the missile situation maturely,” he tweeted. “New Delhi should compensate the Pak family for their loss.”

Sajjad Ahmed
Sajjad Ahmed
Photojournalist / Web Editor
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