India in a statement said a technical malfunction led to the missile being fired into neighbouring Pakistan, during routine maintenance, giving its version of events after Pakistan summoned India’s envoy to protest.

Military experts have in the past warned of the risk of accidents or miscalculations by the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars and engaged in numerous smaller armed clashes, usually over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Tensions have eased in recent months, and the incident, which may have been the first of its kind, immediately raised questions about safety mechanisms.

“On 9 March 2022, in the course of a routine maintenance, a technical malfunction led to the accidental firing of a missile,” the Indian Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

“It is learnt that the missile landed in an area of Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there has been no loss of life due to the accident.”

Pakistani military spokesman Major-General Babar Iftikhar said in a late evening news conference on Thursday that a “high-speed flying object” crashed near the eastern city of Mian Channu and originated from the northern Indian city of Sirsa, in Haryana state near New Delhi.

“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,” he said

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