Indian Air Force Officers Termination Justified by Central Government Over Accidental Missile Firing into Pakistan

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The Central Government has defended its decision to terminate the services of three officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for gross negligence, following the accidental firing of a BrahMos combat missile into Pakistan last year. The government informed the Delhi High Court that the incident had negatively impacted the relationship with the neighboring country and resulted in a loss of Rs 24 crore to the state exchequer. Wing Commander Abhinav Sharma, one of the officers who was terminated, had filed a petition against his dismissal.

In response, the Centre opposed the petition, stating that a court martial trial would be “inexpedient” due to the sensitive nature of the evidence and the international interest in understanding the details of the missile firing. The Central Government justified the termination under the President’s pleasure clause, citing the sensitive security implications and the unique circumstances of the case. It emphasized that such action had not been taken in the Indian Air Force for 23 years, highlighting the severity of the situation.

The officers were dismissed in August last year after a Court of Inquiry (CoI) found that their deviation from Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) had led to the accidental firing of the missile. The government stated that the decision was taken in the public interest and denied any mala-fide intent. While the Central Government declined to discuss the evidence in its reply, citing security concerns, it assured that the CoI proceedings would establish the lapses of the petitioner. The government’s stance reflects the gravity of the incident and its commitment to national security.

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