Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI: A notice was sent a week before Thursday's Agni-III missile test to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) in Jakarta and others in the region, informing them of the launch window dates, danger time, zone and height, India said on Friday.

The clarification comes in the wake of an explanation sought by Indonesia from Indian Ambassador Navrekha Sharma why adequate notice was not given about the missile test as two Garuda (national carrier) planes had to return to Jakarta after entering the Indian air space owing to the test-firing of the missile.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesman said the ATCs were requested to take action and issue a NOTAM (Notice to Aviators and Mariners), in accordance with the provisions laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

"India's missile testing programme has always followed the requisite safety precautions, including in the case of Agni-III test of April 12, 2007," the spokesman said.

PTI reports:

Garuda Indonesia Operations Director Ari Sapari was quoted in an Indonesian newspaper as saying that ``there was no prior information about the test.'' The media report in Jakarta said a Garuda jet, full of Muslim pilgrims en route to Saudi Arabia, had reached the Indian airspace when the missile streaked across the sky, forcing the plane to turn around.

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