The defense minister said the government “took the incident seriously” and ordered a high-level official investigation.
New Delhi: The Indian government today informed Parliament that a ‘high-level formal investigation’ has been ordered into the March 9 incident involving the ‘unintentional’ launch of a missile by India into the territory from Pakistan. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said the incident happened during routine maintenance and inspection around 7 p.m. stressing that the government places “the highest priority” on the safety and security of weapons systems, he assured the House that the missile system is “very reliable and secure”.
“It was later learned that the missile landed in Pakistani territory. Although this incident is regrettable, we are relieved that no one was injured as a result of the accident,” he said. The minister said the government “took seriously” the incident and ordered a high-level official investigation.
The investigation would determine the exact cause of the accident. On precautionary measures to ensure that such incidents can be avoided in the future, he said a review of standard operating procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections was underway following this incident.
“We attach the highest priority to the safety and security of our weapons systems. If a deficiency is detected, it will be corrected immediately. I can assure the House that the missile system is very reliable and secure,” did he declare. he added that security procedures and protocols are “top notch” and are revised from time to time. “Our armed forces are well trained and disciplined and have a good track record in handling such systems,” he said.
India said on Friday it accidentally launched a missile two days before it landed in Pakistan and the “deeply regrettable” incident was caused by a technical malfunction during its routine maintenance. On March 9, an unarmed Indian supersonic missile entered Pakistani territory and hit a cold storage near Mian Cannu, about 275 km from Lahore.
No loss of life was reported. While Pakistan cried foul saying it was unhappy with India’s ‘simplistic explanation’ and called for a joint investigation, the US said there was no evidence that it was more than an accident. “We have no indication, because you also heard from our Indian partners that this incident was anything other than an accident,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Monday at his conference daily Press.