US responds to India’s misfiring of BrahMos at Pakistan


Amidst the unrest of the Ukraine-Russia war, there could have been another one between India and Pakistan, out of a sheer mistake.

On Wednesday, March 9, India accidentally fired a missile that landed in Pakistan.

This rang alarm bells all over the world, because of the ongoing conflict between the two countries. However, Indian officials were quick and clever enough to send out a message that this incident was caused by a technical malfunction in the course of its routine maintenance and it is “deeply regrettable”.

The unarmed BrahMos supersonic missile — a practice version — that was launched into Pakistani territory Wednesday, is understood to have been accidentally fired during an inspection at a secret satellite base of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

But of course, officials in Pakistan may not take India’s word as is. Contrary to Pakistan’s claims of the missile suddenly veering off from its flight path to Rajasthan’s Mahajan Field Firing Range from Haryana’s Sirsa and heading towards its territory — it followed the trajectory that it would have in case of a conflict, but “certain factors” played a role in ensuring that any pre-fed target was out of danger.

Sources said that an inspection and protocol revision was being carried out at a secret satellite base, not Sirsa.

Regarding this incident, 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.

Noting that Wednesday’s incident was regrettable, a statement by the Ministry of Defence Friday said, “The Government of India has taken a serious view and ordered a high-level court of inquiry”.

The statement also said that the missile had entered Pakistan from India Wednesday due to “accidental firing” caused by “a technical malfunction” in the “course of routine maintenance”.

Sources in the know expressed surprise over the “accidental launch”, while noting that the missile system has several mechanical and software safety mechanisms to prevent any kind of accidental firing.

They said that the missile has multiple geo-locations of targets fed into the system, which need to be selected or new ones added.

Then there are multiple steps of clearance, including the entry of certain codes before the countdown starts, after which the missile goes into auto mode, sources said.

Asked why there was no warhead, sources explained that it was a practice missile, which meant that everything was exactly the same as an armed BrahMos missile except for the warhead.