New Delhi: The Union government told the Delhi high court on Tuesday (March 14) that the misfired BrahMos combat missile, which landed in Pakistan in March last year, could have led to a warlike situation between the two countries.
The government is opposing a plea filed by Wing Commander Abhinav Sharma against his dismissal from the Indian Air Force after the mistake. Sharma was one of three IAF officers dismissed.
“Admittedly, this is the matter where we stood embarrassed before the international community. The missile didn’t land in India, it landed in Pakistan. It could have led to a situation of war and that country made a representation to the United Nations,” additional solicitor general Chetan Sharma told a bench of Justices Suresh Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna, according to Hindustan Times.
The accidental firing took place on March 9, 2022 and Pakistan had lodged its protest with India the next day. On March 11, the defence ministry said the missile was fired accidentally and it landed in Pakistan. The ministry had said then that it was caused by a technical malfunction in the course of the routine maintenance of the missile, adding the government has taken a serious view of the incident.
On August 23, 2022, the IAF sacked three officers including Sharma after a Court of Inquiry found that they deviated from the Standard Operating Procedures. Sharma moved the court against his dismissal on March 1 this year. Sharma has said in his petition that he was only trained in maintenance, and not operational, matters. The incident was operational, he added, and he had followed all his duties according to the SOP.
The ASG contended that the petitioner is now gainfully employed with a multinational company, and was coming to the court more than six months after his dismissal.