IAF jets stray into Pakistan airspace, Islamabad upset

Published: 12th June 2013 08:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2013 08:05 AM   |  A+A-

Pakistan on Tuesday charged India with violating its airspace after two IAF MiG-21 fighter jets flew close to the Islamic Republic’s border in Punjab’s Fazilka sector on the Indian side, raising an alarm in Islamabad which reportedly scrambled its own warplanes as a countermeasure.

According to reports from Islamabad, Pakistani officials claimed that the incident took place over  Pattan district, about 200 km from Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, around 10.40 am. And they claimed that the two IAF jets had forayed nearly five km inside the country’s sovereign airspace for two minutes before returning to the Indian side.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) initiated prompt tactical action by scrambling two of its own fighter planes to ward off the intruders, officials were quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the IAF clarified that its two supersonic planes were on a routine flying training sortie and these seem to have “flown close to the border.”  “It appears to be a technical violation. The same has been conveyed to the Pakistani  authorities,” IAF spokesperson Squadron Leader Priya Joshi said here.

The technical violation is a minor breach of an agreement on airspace violation prevention the two countries had inked in 1991, under which no combat jet of either side should fly 10 km near each other’s airspace and this included the Air Defence Identification Zones too.

The Union Ministry of External Affairs  (MEA), meanwhile, said there was no information on airspace violation at the diplomatic level, though, the Pakistan Foreign Office claimed that it had taken up the matter with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and asked India to respect all existing bilateral agreements and confidence building measures (CBMs).

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