New Delhi Insists all Aviation Authorities Notified Of
A Garuda Indonesia Boeing 747
carrying several hundred passengers last week was forced to turn
around when controllers told the pilots a nuclear-capable ballistic
missile had been launched in their vicinity.
The Indonesian Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press the
aircraft was in Indian airspace when the incident occurred
Thursday... and has demanded an explanation from New Delhi. New
Delhi has insisted Indian aviation authorities were informed about
Thursday's test launch well in advance.
The 747 was en route from Jakarta to Saudi Arabia with 413
people on board when the Indian control tower informed the pilots
the missile had been launched, said Ari Sapari, the national
"We were not given any advance warning about this missile test,"
he said. "This was obviously confusing and worrying. It also caused
us to disrupt an international flight schedule -- a great financial
The jet landed back in Jakarta then took off again for Jeddah
seven hours later, he said. A Riyadh-bound Garuda flight was
delayed as well because of the test.
"We have to make sure this does not happen in the future,"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said.
Indonesia is trying to come to terms with a declining safety
record following a series of deadly air, train and ferry
accidents. The country has said it will seek a response from
an Indian diplomat.
"A notice was sent a
week before the test," said government spokesman Navtej Sarna.
Aviation officials were told "about the launch window date, danger
time, zone and height," he said, and had been advised to "issue
notice to aviators and mariners."
The missile, called the Agni III, is a short to intermediate
range missile and was launched from Wheeler Island off of the
Indian state of Orissa and is said to be capable of and is capable
of carrying a payload of 2,200 lb or a nuclear warhead.