By: Chandrashekar Bhat
PAKISTAN on Friday (11) warned New Delhi of “unpleasant consequences” over what it said was an Indian-originated, but unidentified high-altitude supersonic object that crashed in Pakistani territory.
Pakistan foreign office said in a statement it summoned India’s charge d’affaires in Islamabad to lodge a protest over what it said was the “unprovoked violation” of its airspace. Pakistan called for an investigation of the incident, which it said could have endangered passenger flights and civilian lives.
Pakistan warned India in the statement “to be mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in future.”
The two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars and have engaged in numerous military clashes, most recently in 2019 which saw the air forces of the two engage in combat.
In a hurriedly called news conference late on Thursday (10) night, Pakistan military spokesman Major-General Babar Iftikhar said, “On 9 March a high-speed flying object was picked up inside Indian territory by the air defence operations centre of the Pakistan air force.”
He said the military was not sure of the nature of the object, which he said crashed near the eastern Pakistani city of Mian Channu and originated from Sirsa, in India’s western Haryana province.
Pakistan also called on India to share the outcome of the investigation into the incident.
There was no immediate response from India’s ministry of external affairs.
“The flight path of this object endangered many national and international passenger flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property of ground,” said military spokesman Iftikhar.
A Pakistan air force official at the news conference said the object was being analysed forensically and initial studies suggested it was a surface-to-surface supersonic missile but was unarmed.
He said it travelled at an altitude of 40,000 feet, at Mach 3, and flew 124 kilometres (77 miles) in Pakistani airspace before crashing.
Iftikhar said the military would not jump to conclusions until they got an explanation from India, but said that Pakistan strongly protested against a “flagrant violation” of its airspace.
“Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain,” Iftikhar said.