Nuclear Powers Had Another Dangerous Mishap, Far From Ukraine

A missile was accidentally fired from India into Pakistan on Wednesday, caused by a "technical malfunction" during maintenance, the Indian Defense Ministry said.

The missile traveled 77 miles into Pakistani airspace before it crashed near the eastern city of Mian Channu. The missile's flight path endangered passenger flights in both countries' airspace, a Pakistani military official said, according to the BBC.

The accidental missile launch from one nuclear power into another's territory comes amid Russia's escalation in its invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops have overtaken the nuclear power plants of Zaporizhzhia—Europe's largest—and Chernobyl, which Ukrainian officials fear could have "nuclear discharge."

Pakistan and India have an extensive history of tensions along the border, especially in the region of Kashmir. Both countries are armed with nuclear weapons and agreed to a cease-fire agreement last year.

India said the missile firing was "deeply regrettable" but it was a "matter of relief" that no one was killed. The government ordered a high-level investigation, the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday. India did not release the type of missile that was accidentally fired.

In a media briefing on Thursday night, Pakistan's military official said its air defense network picked up a flying object about 64 miles (104 kilometers) from the border. The missile was traveling three times faster than the speed of sound and reached an altitude of 40,000 feet (12,000 meters) before it crashed, according to the Hindustan Times.

Pakistani Major General Babar Iftikhar told reporters that the incident shows India's "disregard for aviation safety and reflects poorly on their technological prowess."

He added that "the incident could have resulted in a major aviation disaster as well as civilian casualties on the ground," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The missile reportedly damaged some civilian property but wasn't armed with a warhead, said Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations, according to the Daily Mail.

Photos of the aftermath show the impact of the missile. Some parts of the aircraft were charred, while others were on fire. A crater was left behind and debris was scattered on the ground.

The countries almost went to war as recently as 2019. India said it bombed what it believed to be a terrorist training camp inside Pakistan after a Pakistan-based militant group claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb that killed 40 Indian troops, the Daily Mail reported.

The following day, Pakistan shot down an Indian jet and captured its pilot, who was released by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan as a "peace gesture," the Daily Mail added.

Update 3/11/22, 4:33 p.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

India Accidentally Fires Missile
Above, an Indian soldier salutes as they march with Akash Surface-to-Air missiles during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2020. Prakash Singh/ AFP/Getty Images