India: Three Officers Sacked For Accidental Missile Launch into Pakistan
On Tues., the Indian Air Force (IAF) dismissed three officers — a Group Captain, a Wing Commander, and a Squadron Leader — after concluding they were responsible for the accidental firing of a supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan in March.
- On Tues., the Indian Air Force (IAF) dismissed three officers — a Group Captain, a Wing Commander, and a Squadron Leader — after concluding they were responsible for the accidental firing of a supersonic cruise missile into Pakistan in March.
- This comes as the Court of Inquiry, established to investigate the launch, found that the officers failed to comply with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) during the incident.
- On Mar. 9, an unarmed BrahMos missile — a nuclear-capable cruise missile jointly developed by Russia and India — was fired from an Indian unit near Ambala, Haryana, during a safety inspection into Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab.
- India initially blamed a “technical malfunction” for the incident that prompted strong protests in Pakistan, but later it became clear that a human error had triggered the accidental firing.
- Pakistan initially sought a joint probe but the idea was rejected by India. The nation has also urged the UN Security Council to take action to stabilize relations following the firing of the missile. Pakistan didn’t immediately react to the dismissal of the Indian officers.
- Worries about safety mechanisms emerged after the incident, as India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed rivals and have fought three wars and engaged in several skirmishes, mostly over the disputed territory of Kashmir, since they gained independence from the British Empire in 1947.
Sources: Hindu, Economic Times, Al Jazeera, Guardian, Tribune, and DW.
- Narrative A, as provided by Tribune. The mature response to this incident from Islamabad prevented an escalation of tensions that could have led to a war between nuclear powers. However, to avert further crises, it’s crucial that New Delhi takes action to ensure the safety of its weapons systems.
- Narrative B, as provided by Economic Times. This severe disciplinary action shows that India is committed to holding its officers accountable and comes after the high-level investigation into the incident wrapped up in a record period of five months. On top of punishing those responsible for the incident, New Delhi has reassessed firing and training protocols, including new safety measures — India has clearly brought weapons security under control.