Missile misfire strikes Pakistan city

India’s accidental strike of Mian Channu leads Pakistan to demand a probe

By Griffin Brammer, Digital Communications Manager

An accidental missile strike from India hit the Pakistani city of Mian Channu on Friday.

Government officials from India ascertained that the missile was not armed and was fired unintentionally during maintenance due to technical error.

“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,” a release from the Indian ministry of defense read.

Pakistani National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf stated that officials in New Dehli did not warn the government in Islamabad that the missile was fired.

Photo courtesy of flickr.com
India and Pakistan are historical rivals and nuclear powers. Friday’s accidental missile strike increased tensions between the two neighboring countries, with the Pakistani government calling for an international probe into the strike and the Indian government calling the incident “regrettable.”

“It is irresponsible of Indian authorities not to have informed Pakistan immediately that an inadvertent launch of a cruise missile had taken place,” Yusuf stated. India confirmed the launch of the missile 48 hours after the accidental firing.

“Circumstances surrounding this incident must also be investigated to ascertain if this was an inadvertent launch or something more intentional,” Yusuf tweeted.

With Mian Channu located 500 kilometers south of the Pakistani capital, the U.S.-based  Arms Control Association said that the missile could just as easily have landed in Islamabad, as the cruise missile’s range is within 300 and 500 kilometers.

The two nuclear-armed countries have previously been at war over the disputed Kashmir region. Due to the history of the countries’ relationship, the Pakistani government has denied New Delhi’s offer to hold an internal inquiry as to the nature of the misfiring.

 Instead, the Pakistani government is demanding that an international investigation be held.

“Such a serious matter cannot be addressed with the simplistic explanation proffered by the Indian authorities,” Pakistan’s foreign office stated. “Pakistan demands a joint probe to accurately establish the facts surrounding the incident.”

The Pakistani air force stated that the missile flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet. A Pakistani security official told Reuters that it was believed to be a BrahMos nuclear missile, jointly developed by India and Russia. Neither country has confirmed the missile type.

The official expressed concern over future confrontations with India. 

“What does this say about their safety mechanisms and the technical prowess of very dangerous weapons?” he asked. “The international community needs to have a very close look at this.”

Pakistan’s foreign office also added that there would be “dire consequences” if misinterpretation by either side during investigation led to an escalation of the situation.

Pakistani Major-General Babar Iftikhar reiterated the sentiment, stating that the “high-speed flying object” jeopardized the safety of flights through both Pakistani and Indian airspace.

Iftikhar also confirmed that the missile originated from the Indian city of Sirsa.

Indian officials praised their neighboring country for restraint in responding to the incident.

“The Pakistani side has shown great maturity,” Sushant Singh, senior fellow at the New Dehli Center for Policy Research said. “We have been lucky this time.”