December 18, 2008 / 9:21 AM / 9 years ago

Pakistan protests over airspace intrusion by India

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan on Thursday summoned a senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad to protest against recent alleged airspace violations by Indian warplanes, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

<p>Indian air force MIG-29 jets in a file photo. REUTERS/Amit Dave</p>

The violations, denied by India, occurred at a time when relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals have been severely strained by last month’s attacks on Mumbai by militants India says came from Pakistan.

The Indian fighter jets crossed into Pakistani airspace over Kashmir and Punjab province, the government said last Saturday.

Pakistan said its own fighter jets were scrambled to chase off the intruders, but it also played down the incident by describing the violations as “technical” and “inadvertent.”

India’s deputy high commissioner, Manpreet Vohra, was given a written protest against the intrusions, saying they contravened a 1991 agreement aimed at preventing such incidents, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Indian air force spokesman insisted on Thursday that no Pakistani airspace violation had taken place.

“We stand by what we said earlier, that we have not violated their airspace. This is not true,” said the spokesman, Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani.

Two Indian air force planes were shot down in a 1999 conflict in the Kargil region of divided Kashmir, after which there have been few reported violations.

Reporting by Kamran Haider in Islamabad and Bappa Majumdar in New Dehli; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Sugita Katyal

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