India as a responsible nation has taken swift action against its IAF officers responsible for Brahmos missile accidental firing mishap on March 9. The three officers terminated from their service include a Group Captain, a Wing Commander and a Squadron Leader. They have been held accountable by the Inquiry committee for the incident of accidental firing of Brahmos missile. The IAF officers were held guilty for deviating from the Standard of procedures(SOPs).
9th March incident
At about 7pm on 9th March,2022 during a routine maintenance and inspection drill, the supersonic cruise missile Brahmos was accidentally fired from the air base in Haryana. The missile took a pre-programmed route and travelled a total of 120 kms into the airspace of Pakistan. It landed near Mian Channu, Khanewal district in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
Reaction from Pakistan
Pakistan was taken aback with the sudden happening. Soon after the incident, the Inter services Public relations (ISPR) department of Pakistan held a press conference confirming the entry of an unmanned missile in their territory with no casualties or damages.
The Indian envoy in Pakistan was summoned and a protest was held to probe an inquiry. The Pakistan government even wrote to the United Nations Security council, questioning India’s security and safety protocols.
Statement from India and ordering of Court of Inquiry
The Indian Defence Ministry released a statement on 11 March ‘deeply regretting’ the incident. The ministry claimed that it was a technical malfunction during a safety training drill that led to the misfiring of Brahmos cruise missile in Pakistan.
Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh assured of setting up a committee to investigate the reason behind the missile fiasco.
Soon after which a Court of inquiry (CoI) was set up under Air Vice Marshal RK Sinha, to fix responsibility for the incident and mishandling of India’s safety measures. The inquiry committee thoroughly investigated the case for over 5 months and held the three IAF officers responsible for the mishap.
Averting a serious disaster
Brahmos is a nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by India and Russia. With a range between 300-500 kms, the Brahmos missile has a capability of hitting Islamabad from a northern Indian launchpad. A small glitch or negligent behaviour on part of India could have resulted in a serious conflict between the two nuclear-warhead nations.
The military experts in the past have warned of any miscalculations or mishandling of safety and security protocols. Questions were raised on India’s reliability and safety of armed weaponry. An assurance for which has been given by the Defence minister saying that,
“We attach highest priority to safety and security of our weapon systems. If any shortcoming is found, the same would be immediately rectified.”