An unarmed Indian supersonic missile took off from Sirsa and landed at a place 124 km within Pakistani territory on Wednesday evening. The missile, it said, was cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet and endangered passenger flights in both Indian and Pakistani airspace, and also civilians and property on the ground.
There was no response from either the Indian Air Force or the Ministry of Defence on the Pakistan claim.
The DG ISPR said the incident occurred on March 9, when a high-speed flying object was detected inside the Indian territory by the PAF Air Defence Operation System. The object was picked up at 18:43 hours which after remaining airborne, suddenly manoeuvred from its initial course and intruded into the Pakistani territory. He described it as “a supersonic flying object, most probably a missile, but it was certainly unarmed.”
Speaking at a news conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Iftikar said the “supersonic missile” struck in the city of Mian Channu on Wednesday evening. He added that it could have endangered civilians and threatened commercial flights.
“Pakistan strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in the future,” he warned.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry later summoned the Indian charge d’affaires in Islamabad to lodge a formal protest over the “unprovoked” violation of Pakistan airspace. “Such irresponsible incidents were also reflective of India’s disregard for air safety and callousness towards regional peace and stability,” the ministry said in a statement. According to a 2005 agreement between India and Pakistan on pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles, each country has to notify the other at least three days in advance of the flight test it wants to undertake whether surface-to-surface, land or sea launched missiles. It further states that launch sites should not fall within 40 km from either the International Boundary or the Line of Control and the planned impact area should not fall within 75 km.
“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain,” Major General Babar Iftikhar said.
Sources: Indian Express, VOA News, Dawn News, ABC News, Associate Press of Pakistan