India’s military accidentally fired a missile into neighbouring Pakistan, New Delhi’s defence ministry said on Friday, calling it “deeply regrettable”.
Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from British colonial rule in 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Their shared border has a heavy military presence on both sides, and at times tensions have spiralled to the point of raising fears of an atomic exchange.
“In the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile” on Wednesday, India’s defence ministry said.
It did not specify the type of missile, but said it landed “in an area of Pakistan”.
The incident was “deeply regrettable”, it said, adding that it was “a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident”.
The statement came hours after Islamabad’s foreign ministry condemned what it called an “unprovoked violation of its airspace by an Indian origin ‘super-sonic flying object'”.
India’s charge d’affaires in Islamabad had been summoned to the foreign office for a “strong protest”, it added.
The “imprudent launch” had damaged property on the ground and put at risk civilian lives and aircraft in Pakistani airspace, it said, accusing India of “callousness towards regional peace and stability”. – AFP