New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday said that the Indian missile, which had landed in Pakistan last week, was an “inadvertent release” during an inspection at a secret satellite base of the Indian Air Force.
Giving a statement in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said a missile was accidentally released at around 7 pm on Wednesday during a routine “maintenance and inspection”.
ThePrint had Saturday reported that the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile was fired from a base during inspection, ahead of a major review by the IAF headquarters.
“It was later learnt that the missile had landed inside the territory of Pakistan. While this incident is regretted, we are relieved that nobody was hurt due to the accident,” the defence minister said.
Underlining that the government has taken serious note of the incident, he said a formal high-level inquiry has been ordered
The inquiry would determine the exact cause of the accident, he said.
The minister added, “I would also like to state that a review of the Standard Operating Procedures for operations, maintenance and inspections is being conducted in the wake of this incident.”
Seeking to allay any concerns, Rajnath said India “attaches highest priority” to safety and security of weapon systems.
If any shortcoming is found, the same would be immediately rectified, he said.
“I can assure the House that the missile system is very reliable and safe. Moreover, our safety procedures and protocols are of the highest order and are reviewed from time to time. Our armed forces are well-trained and disciplined and are well experienced in handling such systems,” he said.
The “accidental launch” Wednesday came as a surprise because the missile system has several mechanical and software safety mechanisms to prevent any mishap.
The mission computer has multiple geo-locations targets fed into it and each target has to be selected or new ones need to be added.
There are also multiple steps of clearance, including the entry of certain codes, unique to different officers in hierarchy, and turning it a key after which the missile goes into auto mode.
(Edited by Monami Gogoi)