IAF downplays Pakistan's concern over airspace violation

Islamabad/New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Pakistan Tuesday conveyed its "serious concern" to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad over the violation of its airspace by two Indian fighter jets but the Indian Air Force said it was a "technical violation".

The Pakistan foreign ministry said in a statement that it "has conveyed serious concern to the Indian High Commission over the airspace violation by two Indian high speed (fighter) aircraft that had intruded four km into the Head Sulemanki area at 1040 hours. The aircraft stayed in Pakistani air space for about two minutes".

Pakistan said it considers the air space violation "as a contravention of the 1991 Agreement between Pakistan and India on Prevention of Air Space Violations and for Permitting Overflights and Landings by Military Aircraft".

It also called upon India to "respect all existing agreements and CBMs that have been reached between the two countries", the statement from the Pakistan foreign affairs ministry said.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had initiated prompt tactical action and scrambled two fighter aircraft to challenge the "intruders", the PAF spokesman said.

"Upon PAF action, Indian aircraft exited the Pakistani airspace," he said.

An IAF spokesman in New Delhi, however, downplayed the incident saying the two aircraft were on a training sortie and it was a technical violation.

"It is clarified that IAF aircraft which were on a routine flying training sortie seem to have flown close to the border and it appears to be a technical violation. The same has also been conveyed to the Pakistan authorities," he said.

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