INDIA. Mumbai: The Government of India on Tuesday sacked three officers of the Indian Air force (IAF) on charges of deviation from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the accidental firing of the BrahMos missile that landed in Pakistan this year in March.
“On March 9, 2009, a BrahMos missile was accidentally launched. A Court of Inquiry, set up to establish the facts of the case and determine who was responsible for the incident, found that three officers’ disregard for Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) resulted in the missile being accidentally fired,” the statement said.
“The incident has primarily been blamed on these three officers. The central government immediately ceased providing their services. The officers received termination notices on August 23,” it said.
Although the IAF did not mention the ranks and names of the officials, it is learnt that a Group Captain is among the three whose services have been terminated.
The missile landed 124 k.m. near Mian Channu city inside Pakistan, following which the IAF ordered a CoI headed by an Air Vice Marshal, a two-star officer, to probe the incident. A day after the incident, the Pakistan military had stated that the supersonic surface-to-surface missile flying at three times the speed of sound at 40,000 feet entered Pakistan from India’s Suratgarh and fell to the ground, causing damage to civilian property.
The Defence Ministry on March 11 said the missile was fired accidentally and landed in Pakistan. It had said that a technical malfunction caused it during the routine maintenance of the missile, and the government had taken a serious view of the incident. On March 15, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that SOPs for such systems’ operations, maintenance, and inspection were being reviewed.
Following the incident, Pakistan summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad and expressed its vehement protest over the supersonic “projectile” of Indian origin’s “unprovoked” violation of its airspace. The Pakistani foreign office also demanded a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident, and Islamabad was informed of the findings.
BrahMos is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya, a rocket design bureau based in Reutov.
The missile derives its name from the rivers Brahmaputra (a transboundary river that flows through Tibet, India, and Bangladesh) and Moskva, a river running through western Russia.
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