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There was no danger to PM Modi's aircraft: Aviation minister

world Updated: Jul 18, 2014 16:59 IST
Narendra Modi

The government on Friday said there was no threat to Air India One, the aircraft that flew Prime Minister Narendra Modi back from Germany over the airspace where Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down on Thursday.

Modi's flight to Ukraine’s Donetsk from Germany was heading towards the same region where the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down, according to a report in The Hindu.

According to The Hindu , PM Modi's flight (Air India-001) took off from Frankfurt, Germany, at 1122 GMT and the Malaysian airliner went off the radar at 1320 GMT. Modi’s plane was en-route to Donetsk, which would be approximately three hours of flight time.

If Modi had travelled in the same path for another hour, he would have been on the same region as that of MH17, the report claimed.

The route was later changed after the news of the attack was communicated to Indian officials.

Modi was returning to India after attending the sixth BRICS Summit held in Brazil from July 14 to 16.

"I think that is speculation. There was no danger to our PM's aircraft. No problem. On Air India One, the flight data is on foreign radar," civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters when asked whether there was any threat to the PM's plane which flew over the same airspace.

"What happens is that whenever any air route (for a VIP aircraft) is finalised, the countries involved get to know about it. If you don't keep them informed, there is another type of problem," he said.

"So generally whenever any civilian aircraft flies over a country, suppose India, obviously the Government of India will know what aircraft it is, to whom it belongs, what its intentions are," Raju said.

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Flight MH17, carrying 298 people, was hit by a surface-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. It crashed at Torez, near Shakhtersk, some 40 km from the Russian border in Ukraine after it was hit by a missile.

With inputs from PTI