India accidentally fires a missile into Pakistan: Delhi apologises for ‘regrettable’ maintenance error that led to weapon blasting into its nuclear-armed sworn enemy
India’s military accidentally fired a missile into Pakistan, New Delhi’s defence ministry said on Friday, claiming that routine maintenance made the missile go off because of a ‘technical malfunction’.
The missile landed in ‘an area of Pakistan’, the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that a high-level inquiry had been ordered.
India called the bombing ‘deeply regrettable’, but added it was a ‘matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident’.
Both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed states, sharing a long history of tension along the border, most notable in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The statement came hours after Islamabad’s foreign ministry condemned what it called an ‘unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian origin “super-sonic flying object”‘.
The missile damaged some civilian property, said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, a wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces, but said ‘it was certainly unarmed’.
India’s charge d’affaires in Islamabad had been summoned to the foreign office for a ‘strong protest’, it added.
The ‘imprudent launch’ had damaged property on the ground and put at risk both civilian lives and aircraft in Pakistani airspace, it said, accusing India of ‘callousness towards regional peace and stability’.
New Delhi has more than 500,000 troops stationed in Indian-administered Kashmir, where rebel groups have battled for decades for the region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan.
New Delhi accuses Islamabad of backing the insurgents, which it denies.
Indian aircraft bombed what New Delhi called a terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan in 2019 after a suicide bombing claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group killed 40 Indian troops.
In aerial skirmishes over Kashmir the next day, at least one Indian jet was shot down and its pilot captured by Pakistan, but Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had him released in a ‘peace gesture’.