India reviewing missile SOPs after “accidental release” into Pakistan
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tells Rajya Sabha that any shortcoming found would be rectified
Photo Credit : Ministry of Defence,
File photo of a BrahMos missile firing
A review of the Standard Operating Procedures for operations, maintenance and inspection of India’s missiles and weapon systems is being conducted in the wake of the “inadvertent release of a missile during inspection” on March 9, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a statement on March 15.
The missile landed near Mian Channu in Pakistani Punjab, leading to Islamabad expressing concerns over safeguards against unauthorized launch of missiles in a nuclearized environment. Pakistan also demanded a joint probe into the incident.
“We attach highest priority to safety and security of our weapon systems. If any shortcoming is found, the same would be immediately rectified,” the Defence Minister stated.
He sought to assure the Rajya Sabha that the “missile system is very reliable and safe”, that safety procedures and protocols are reviewed from time-to-time and that India’s armed forces are well-trained and disciplined and well experienced in handling such systems.
While neither India nor Pakistan identified the missile in their respective statements, the Pakistani account of the “supersonic projectile” appears to suggest that may have been the BrahMos. Pakistan stated that the missile was unarmed and confirmed that the accidental firing did not lead to any loss of life. Pakistan also claimed that the missile was fired from Sirsa and that it tracked the missile during the entire trajectory of its flight.
“During routine maintenance and inspection, a missile was accidentally released at around 7 p.m. (on March 9, 2022). It was later learnt that the missile had landed inside the territory of Pakistan. While this incident is regretted, we are relieved that nobody was hurt due to the accident,” Singh told the House.
“I would like to inform the august House that Government has taken serious note of the incident. A formal high-level inquiry has been ordered. The inquiry would determine the exact cause of the said accident,” he stated.
“I would also like to state that a review of the Standard Operating Procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections is being conducted in the wake of this incident. We attach highest priority to safety and security of our weapon systems. If any shortcoming is found, the same would be immediately rectified,” the Defence Minister stated.
“I can assure the House that the missile system is very reliable and safe. Moreover, our safety procedures and protocols are of the highest order and are reviewed from time to time. Our Armed Forces are well-trained and disciplined and are well experienced in handling such systems,” he added.