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India 'accidentally' fired a missile into Pakistan, according to the country's defence ministry.
It comes after Pakistan's military reported an Indian 'unarmed supersonic missile' striking its territory on March 9. While causing no civilian casualties, it did damage some residential property.
'At 6:43 pm, 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 6:50pm,' army spokesman Major General Babar Iftikhar said.
India's defence ministry said the 'accidental' missile strike was the result of a 'technical malfunction', AFP reports.
'On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,' the statement reads.
'The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level court of enquiry. 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,' it adds.
Pakistan's air force tracked the surface-to-surface missile from its 'point of origin near Sirsa in India' all the way to Mian Channu in Khanewal district in the eastern Punjab province.
'Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in the future. Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain,' Iftikhar told reporters, as per VOA News.
'The flight path of this object endangered many domestic and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani air space as well as human life and property on ground,' he added.
NOW - Pakistan accuses India of firing a projectile at its territory. pic.twitter.com/t8DG8LMHhW— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) March 10, 2022
In response to the strike, Islamabad summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires with 'strong condemnation of this blatant violation of Pakistani airspace in contravention of the established international norms and Aviation safety protocols', as per a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
'Such irresponsible incidents were also reflective of India's disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability,' the ministry added, saying Indian must be 'mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in future'.
The remnants of the rocket are still being examined by aviation experts at the time of writing, according to Vice Marshal Tariq Zia, a senior Pakistani air force officer.
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