- Rajnath Singh makes statement over March 9 missile misfire incident
- The missile reportedly landed over 100km inside Pakistan
- The Government has taken serious note of the incident, the Defence Minister said
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday (March 15) said that the Government has taken serious note of March 9 incident wherein a missile was inadvertently fired landing inside Pakistan's territory. Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Rajnath Singh assured that the "missile system is very reliable and safe".
"The Government has taken serious note of the incident. A formal high-level inquiry has been ordered. The inquiry would determine the exact cause of the said accident," the Defence Minister said. "I would also like to state that a review of the Standard Operating Procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections is being conducted in the wake of this incident," he added.
On Friday, the Government had said it accidentally fired a missile that landed in Pakistan on March 9 and that the "deeply regrettable" incident was caused by a technical malfunction in the course of its routine maintenance.
The Defence Ministry said that the government has taken a serious view of the incident and ordered a 'Court of Enquiry' into it. "On 9 March 2022, in the course of routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile. The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level Court of Enquiry," the ministry 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," it added.
Pakistan said that a high-speed projectile launched from India entered its airspace, causing some damage to surrounding areas after it fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district of the Punjab province. It claimed that the path of the missile could have resulted in a serious aviation accident as well as civilian casualties.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called for a joint probe, saying such a matter can't be addressed with a 'simplistic explanation'.
Meanwhile, the United States has said there is no indication that the recent firing of a missile from India which landed in Pakistan was anything other than accidental.
"We have no indication as you also heard from our Indian partners that this incident was anything other than an accident," State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Monday. "We refer you of course to the Indian Ministry of Defense for any follow-up. They issued a statement on March 9th to explain precisely what had happened. We don't have a comment beyond that," Price said in response to a question.
It is believed that the misfired missile was a BrahMos, one of India's top missiles.