High-altitude supersonic missile originating in India crashed in Pakistan Mian Channu city, in an incident endangering civilian passenger flights, and New Delhi should provide an explanation, Pakistan's military says.

Missile travelled at an altitude of 40,000 feet, at Mach 3, and flew 124 km in Pakistani airspace before crashing, officials say. (Representational image)
Missile travelled at an altitude of 40,000 feet, at Mach 3, and flew 124 km in Pakistani airspace before crashing, officials say. (Representational image) (Reuters Archive)

An unarmed surface-to-surface missile launched from neighbouring India violated Pakistan's airspace and ended up in eastern Punjab province, Pakistan's military has said, damaging a wall in a residential area but causing no casualties.

Major General Babar Iftikhar protested on Thursday 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 were 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.

Iftikhar said the military would not jump to conclusions until they got an explanation from India, but said that Pakistan strongly protests against this "flagrant violation" of its airspace.

"Whatever caused this incident to happen, it is for the Indians to explain," he said.

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History of rivalry 

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 neighbours 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 Abhinandan Varthaman in response to an air strike by Indian aircraft targeting rebels in the northwestern town of Balakot inside Pakistan.

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

Pakistan later released the pilot in a goodwill gesture. 

Source: AP