Islamabad, 12 March 2022 (TDI): India has confirmed an “accidental missile firing” into Pakistan on Friday, calling it “deeply regrettable.” 

The announcement comes more than a day after the Pakistani Military announced an Indian “unarmed supersonic” missile had impacted its territory on Wednesday evening, causing damage but no casualties.

 Pakistani officials demanded an explanation from New Delhi for what they called an “irresponsible” act that put regional security at risk.

“During routine maintenance, a technical malfunction resulted in the accidental firing of a missile,” an official Indian statement said Friday.

It stated that the Indian government had taken a “serious view” of the occurrence and had “ordered a high-level” probe. “It has been learned that the missile landed in Pakistani territory,” the statement read.

“While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a source of relief that no loss of [life] occurred due to the accident.” Moeed Yusuf, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser, questioned and criticized India’s claims.

In a statement, he said it took more than two days for New Delhi to recognize that the missile had been launched “ostensibly” due to a technical malfunction during maintenance.

The Adviser said, “The world must handle this occurrence with the urgency, sensitivity, and alarm it deserves.” Yusuf emphasized the importance of New Delhi conducting an investigation to determine whether this was an “accidental launch or something more intentional.”

At a news conference late Thursday, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar formally revealed details of the incident.

He called it a “flagrant” violation and claimed that the rocket landed near the town of Mian Channu in the eastern border province of Punjab.

“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain. It nevertheless shows their disregard for aviation safety and reflects very poorly on their technological prowess and procedural efficiency,” General Iftikhar observed.

The accidental hit, according to Michael Kugelman, who is a Senior Associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center in Washington, shows how rapidly an incident like this may escalate into something worse.

“Mistake or not, an incident like this has the potential to be escalatory in nature. The good news is this incident was handled well by both sides, to prevent any escalation.”

The incident, according to General Iftikhar, could have resulted in a massive aircraft tragedy as well as human casualties on the ground.

“It’s crucial to note that this object’s flight path jeopardized several international and domestic passenger planes, as well as human lives and property on the ground, in both Indian and Pakistani airspace,” Iftikhar said.

Iftikhar said that Pakistan’s defense system intercepted the surface-to-surface missile as soon as it took off from Sirsa, India, some 104 kilometers from the Pakistani border, and “continuously tracked” its whole flight path.

The rocket was flying at a height of 12 kilometers and stayed in Pakistani territory for 204 seconds before landing 124 kilometers within Pakistan, according to the DG ISPR. He refused to reveal if the Indian missile had been shot down.