IAF denies Pak claim of airspace violation
Rubbishing a Pakistani claim that Indian Air Force fighter jets flew into their airspace, India today vehemently denied media reports in this regard, claiming that it seemed like a mere propaganda.india Updated: Dec 15, 2008 01:47 IST
Rubbishing a Pakistani claim that Indian Air Force fighter jets flew into their airspace, India on Sunday vehemently denied media reports in this regard, claiming that it seemed like a mere propaganda.
"There has not been any airspace violation as has been alleged," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told PTI today.
Pakistan had alleged last night that IAF fighter jets had violated the country's airspace in two separate sectors.
Television channels in Islamabad also claimed that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had scrambled its own fighter aircraft to force the IAF jets in the Lahore and Pakistan- Occupied-Kashmir sectors to return.
A Pakistan Air Force spokesman said in Islamabad that IAF jets were "forced to retreat" after Pakistani aircraft responded. He did not say when the airspace violations had occurred or how long the Indian jets had remained in Pakistani airspace.
Separately, Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman said when the matter was taken up with Indian authorities, they had described the violations as "inadvertent".
"We have spoken to the IAF. They have informed us that this is an inadvertent incursion. We have made a routine response and the PAF is on alert. There is no need to hype the issue further than this," she told Dawn News channel in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, top officials in the Air headquarters here said the episode only seemed like "a propaganda" and there was no substance in the Pakistani claim.
This fresh war of words between India and Pakistan comes even as their armed forces girded up to a state of vigil along the borders with tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad mounting over the November 26 terror strikes in Mumbai, which is blamed on elements from the neighbouring country.
Since the terror attacks that claimed 183 lives, the IAF had put its fighter jets on "operational readiness" and so did the Army troops on the western borders and the Navy in the Arabian Sea.
As early as on November 28 night, IAF fighter jets in important airbases in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan along the borders with Pakistan had been placed on "cockpit alert," Defence Ministry sources said.
However, it was more for countering any misadventure by Pakistani troops or the Jihadist forces from taking advantage of the Mumbai terror attacks, sources said.
Intelligence warnings over a 9/11-type terror attack on Indian soil was another reason for the fighter jets to be put on "alert" so as to scramble them to ward off the airborne threat from "rogue" flying objects.
First Published: Dec 14, 2008 09:27 IST