Military says unarmed missile from India ends up in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s military on Thursday claimed that an unarmed surface-to-surface missile launched from neighboring India violated Pakistan’s airspace and ended up in eastern Punjab province, damaging a wall in a residential area but causing no casualties.

Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar protested over the “flagrant violation” and demanded an explanation from India. There was no immediate comment from New Delhi.

Speaking at a news conference in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Iftikar said the “supersonic missile” struck in the city of Mian Channu on Wednesday evening. He added that it could have endangered civilians and threatened commercial flights.

Pakistan’s air force tracked the missile from its launch at an Indian facility and throughout its more than three-minute-long flight inside Pakistan’s airspace, Iftikar said.

Iftikar said there was no sensitive military installations in the area where the missile landed. A senior air force officer, Vice Marshal Tariq Zia said the military was still examining its remnants.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations mainly over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is divided between them and claimed by both in its entirety. Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, the nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

Ties between them were further strained in 2019 when Pakistan’s air force shot down an Indian warplane in the Pakistan-administered section of Kashmir, and captured a pilot in response to an airstrike by Indian aircraft targeting militants in the northwestern town of Balakot inside Pakistan.

India at the time said its airstrikes targeted Pakistan-based militants responsible for a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Pakistan later released the pilot.