Pakistan held back because an initial assessment indicated something was amiss, Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources as saying
Air-launched version of the BrahMos cruise missile, of the type likely involved in the incident | Twitter/@ANI
According to a Bloomberg report, Pakistan nearly launched a retaliatory strike after an accidental missile fired by India last week landed in its territory. The report suggests that the mishap could have brought the nuclear-armed neighbors to blows.
The Indian Air Force fired the BrahMos medium-range cruise missile from Punjab’s Ambala, about 200 km from Delhi, the Bloomberg report said. The missile damaged some residential property but caused no casualties.
India didn’t use the direct hotline between the top army commanders on both sides to inform Pakistan, the Bloomberg report said. Instead, Air Force officials moved to shut down the missile systems to avoid any further launches, reported Bloomberg.
As per the report, Pakistan held a briefing to publicize the incident a day later after failing to hear an explanation from India, following which India finally offered a response on Friday.
The Pakistani major general conducting the press conference delivered an admonishment to the Indian side about its “unprofessionalism” and “technical inefficiency”, as the missile, cruising at 40,000 ft was close to civilian flights, but he stayed with the facts.
In turn, India accepted that a mistake had been made, that “in the course of routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile” and expressed relief that no lives were lost due to the “deeply regrettable” incident.
The United States said there was 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.