A high-speed projectile launched from India entered the Pakistani airspace travelling 124 km and fell near Mian Channu in Khanewal district damaging some civilian property though no casualties occurred, Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director-General of the Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Pakistan, claimed on Thursday.
According to the Pakistani military, the incident occurred on March 9 and based on the initial analysis of the debris, it claimed it to be a supersonic surface-to-surface missile “but certainly unarmed”.
“At 6.43 p.m., a high-speed flying object was picked up inside the Indian territory by the Air Defence Operation Centre of the Pakistan Air Force [PAF]. From its initial course, the object suddenly manoeuvred towards the Pakistani territory and violated Pakistan’s airspace ultimately falling near Mian Channu at 6.50 p.m.,” Major General Iftikhar told a press conference. “When it fell it also damaged some civilian property. Thankfully no loss or injury to human life was caused.”
The PAF continuously monitored the complete flight path of the flying object from its point of origin near Sirsa in India till its point of impact near Mian Channu, he stated.
There was no immediate response from the Indian authorities to the allegations.
Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Tariq Zia said the incident occurred on March 9. It originated from Sirsa and initially seemed to be heading towards the Mahajan field firing range but after 70-80 km turned in the direction of Pakistan. “The total time from pick up till its impact on the ground was 6 minutes and 46 seconds. However, the time it stayed in the Pakistani territory was for 3 minutes and 44 seconds,” he said.
The object was picked up at a high altitude at 40,000 feet and it was travelling at speeds in excess of Mach 2.5 and ultimately identified as Mach 3, AVM Zia said, adding that they had recovered the debris and were doing the forensic analysis. Based on the analysis, he said it was a supersonic surface-to-surface missile.
Maj. Gen. Iftikhar said the PAF had initiated “requisite tactical actions” in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and that the flight path of the object endangered many international and domestic passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property on ground.
He said there was no conversation or intimation of this from India on the hotline between the Director General of Military Operations. The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs would seek requisite information from the Indian authorities, Maj. Gen. Iftikhar added.