Pakistan Thursday claimed an unarmed Indian supersonic missile took off from Sirsa and landed at a place 124 km within Pakistani territory on Wednesday evening. The missile, it said, was cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet and endangered passenger flights in both Indian and Pakistani airspace, and also civilians and property on the ground.
There was no response from either the Indian Air Force or the Ministry of Defence on the Pakistan claim.
At a press conference Thursday evening, Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director General, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistani Armed Forces said at 1843 hours on March 9, “a high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian flying territory by Air Defence Operations Centre of the Pakistani Air Force. From its initial course the object suddenly maneuvered towards Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace ultimately falling near Mia Channu.”
There were no human casualties. While there were no sensitive installations in the area where it landed, a wall did fall, the Pakistan military said.
According to a 2005 agreement between India and Pakistan on pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles, each country has to notify the other at least three days in advance of the flight test it wants to undertake whether surface-to-surface, land or sea launched missiles. It further states that launch sites should not fall within 40 km from either the International Boundary or the Line of Control and the planned impact area should not fall within 75 km.
Pakistani Air Force, Major General Iftikhar said has “initiated requisite tactical actions in accordance” with the Standard Operating Procedures.
“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain,” he said. Pakistan “strongly protests this flagrant violation and cautions against recurrence of any such incident in future”, he said.
Spokesperson for Pakistan Air Force Tariq Zia the object “was picked up at a high-altitude of 40,000 feet and was traveling at a speeding axis of Mach 2.5 and ultimately Mach 3.” He said the total distance it travelled inside Pakistan was 124 km, and from the total flight time of 6 minute 46 seconds till it hit the ground, it was in Pakistani territory for 3 minutes and 44 seconds.
“While we have recovered the debris… we can so far deduce it was a supersonic missile, an unarmed missile. Details are yet to come,” he said.