On the 9th of March this week, a projectile crashed in the Pakistani town of Mian Channu near the Indian border in the Punjab province. While early reports suggested that it could have been a training aircraft that crashed, the Pakistani military held a press briefing the next day detailing that the projectile actually originated from India and was flying at supersonic speeds before violating Pakistani airspace and crashing near Mian Channu.
“On 9 March a high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian territory by air defence operations centre of the Pakistan air force,” Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar said in the press conference. “The flight path of this object endangered many national and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property of ground,” he added, saying that it was up to India to explain what had happened.
While there was no immediate response from the Indian side, the Indian government has now admitted that the projectile was, in fact, fired from the Indian side of the border and was the result of a technical malfunction.
“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian government said in a statement.
“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.”, the statement further read.
Since gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan and India have fought multiple wars and the 3,323km border can be quite volatile at times. In a world already in turmoil with the conflict in Ukraine and elsewhere, an escalation between two nuclear-armed neighbours, especially due to technical malfunctions, would be the last thing anyone wants right now.