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Press Release on unprovoked firing by Pakistan on IAF

New Delhi
August 12, 1999

The Government of India has lodged a strong protest with the Government of Pakistan against the totally unprovoked firing of missiles at 3 unarmed Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-8 helicopters with civilians on board in the area west of Lakhpat in North Gujarat on 11 August, 1999. The passengers on board the helicopters were media persons being taken to visit the site of wreckage of the Pakistan Navy combat aircraft that had been shot down the previous day. The helicopters were engaged in a legitimate activity and were flying 2 nautical miles from the international border, in Indian airspace, well within the limits defined by the India-Pakistan agreement on prevention of airspace violation (1991). It was conveyed that such an unprovoked attack was a flagrant violation of norms of international conduct and a matter of deep concern. The Government of Pakistan was urged to exercise due restraint and to take necessary measures to prevent any further incident, even as the IAF had exercised restraint in not taking action in defence against the Pakistan missile launch sites.