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One Soldier Killed, Several Others Feared Injured During Misfiring In Arunachal Pradesh

The Indian Army has suffered casualties earlier because of faulty ordnance.

25/05/2017 11:11 PM IST | Updated 25/05/2017 11:20 PM IST
AFP/Getty Images
Indian army soldiers prepare to fire mortar shells towards hiding suspected militants in the Maniga area of Kupwara district north of Srinagar on November 23, 2015. A suspected rebel was killed at Maniga, near the frontier town of Kupwara in the north of the Himalayan territory, during an army search of the forested area. AFP PHOTO / AFP / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

At least one solider was killed and several others feared injured when a mortar fired during a field firing exercise in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh misfired.

Tawang adjoins the Line of Actual Control (LAC) -the de-facto border between India and China. The Indian Army refused to comment.

Sources, however, told HuffPost India that a unit of Indian Army was on a routine field-firing exercise in Tawang. At least one mortar fired from the field firing range during the exercise "misfired" and changed trajectory and dropped on a convoy of army vehicles travelling at a distance. One solider was killed and several others are feared injured. About four vehicles of Indian Army were burnt. Signals equipment on board the trucks were completely destroyed, sources said.

The injured were subsequently air-lifted from Tawang.

Mortars are considered to be weapons fired to inflict mass casualties or destroy well dug-in and fortified enemy positions. Mortars are fired on a parabolic trajectory from tubes.

Sources said that the mortar with a normal and expected range of 5 kilometres malfunctioned, dropped much ahead of the expected spot, hitting a military convoy. The mortar which misfired is most likely a 120 mm mortar.

Malfunction of ordnance leading to casualties isn't new for the Indian Army.

At least 16 soldiers including officers and members of the Defence Security Corps died when a fire broke out Central Ordnance Depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra last July. Inquiries later showed that faulty anti-tank mines stored in the depot had caused the fire.

In 2008 March, during Exercise Operation Brazen Charriot that was held in the Pokhran Ranges, three soldiers died when a 120 mm mortar exploded as it was being fired.

And, although the Modi led NDA government has tried to tighten the screws and oversight process of the Ordnance Factory Boards (OFB)--which produce these ordnances among others--gaps still remain.

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