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Indian Air Force on shooting of a Pak aircraft

New Delhi
August 12, 1999

As you are all aware, yesterday at approximately 11:15 a.m. an Atlantique aircraft of the Pakistani Navy intruded into Indian airspace and was shot down by Indian MiG-21 Interceptors.

The Pakistani aircraft was first detected by our ground radars when it approached the border at approximately 10:50 a.m., after which it flew close to the border, eventually crossing the border at approximately 11:15 a.m. in this area. The Operational Readiness Platform at IAF Naliya (consisting of two MiG-21s) was scrambled well in time to intercept the intruder before he had penetrated more than 10 Kms into Indian territory. The interceptors closed in and visually identified the intruder as a PN Atlantique aircraft. In accordance with established procedures in such situations, the fighters attempted to signal the PN aircraft to follow them for a forced landing at the nearest IAf airbase. However, the PN Atlantique did not heed the instructions, and initiated evasive manoeuvring into the interceptors in an attempt to get away. The IAF fighters had no choice but to shoot down the intruder, using an air-to-air missile. The Atlantique was hit on the port engine and was seen descending while on fire while turning towards the border, till it was lost to sight when it descended below cloud at an altitude of approximately 500 meters.

It was subsequently discovered that the Pakistani aircraft had crashed near the Indian side of the border.

Even though the intruder was seen to head back towards Pakistan after being shot by the missile, he apparently lost control of the aircraft as evident by the crash site. The wreckage was strewn over a wide area, as is to be expected from an aircraft breaking up in mid-air while still in flight. Some wreckage had been picked up by an IAF Mi-8 helicopter yesterday evening, but the second helicopter sent to bring some more of the wreckage was fired upon from the Pakistani side of the border, and had to return; in fact, after landing a bullet was found imbedded in the body of the helicopter! However, this morning a team of media persons escorted by BSF personnel have been taken to Naliya and further by boat up creek to the crash site. The BSF escorts have been instructed to respond appropriately to any opposition to their movements.

Since May this year, there have been 30 cases of air violations by Pakistan all along the border which were reported to the MOD, of which 26 have been taken up with the Govt. of Pakistan while four are being processing.

From beginning of the year, 52 cases have been reported to Pakistan by Government of India.