File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Aerial Incident Of 10 August 1999: Pakistan v/s India

On 10 August 1999, there was a military confrontation between the air forces of India and Pakistan. Pakistan Air Force and Indian Air Force aircraft were involved in an aerial incident over Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The incident took place over the Line of Control (LOC) in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir. The incident began when two Pakistani Navy F-16s intercepted an Indian Air Force surveillance aircraft, a Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II, which was on a routine mission over the Line of Control (LoC) between the two countries.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) detected a Pakistani aircraft intruding into its airspace and scrambled its fighter jets to intercept it. The Pakistani aircraft, which was later identified as a naval surveillance aircraft called the Atlantic, was flying at a low altitude to avoid detection. The IAF fighter jets gave multiple warnings to the Pakistani aircraft to turn back, but they were ignored. The IAF then fired a missile at the Atlantic, which resulted in its destruction.

The incident escalated tensions between India and Pakistan, which were already strained due to the ongoing Kargil conflict. The Pakistani government condemned the attack and accused India of aggression. The Indian government defended the action as a necessary measure to protect its airspace and prevent any further intrusion. The Pakistani pilots claimed that the Indian aircraft had violated Pakistani airspace, while the Indian side denied the allegation and said that their aircraft was flying in international airspace.

During the encounter, the Pakistani F-16s fired a missile at the Indian aircraft, severely damaging it and causing it to crash on the Pakistani side of the LOC. All 16 Indian crew members on the aircraft on board were killed in the crash.

On the basis of the above facts Pakistan claims that India has incurred legal responsibility for the breach of its fundamental obligations under the United Nations Charter, as well as those arising under bilateral treaties, apart from constituting a breach under well-established obligations of customary international law:
  1. Breaches of the Charter of the United Nations - violations of the various provisions of the United Nations Charter, particularly Article 2, paragraph 4.
  2. Breaches of the bilateral Agreement - violations of the pro visions of the Agreement concluded on 6 April 1991 between Pakistan and India on Prevention of Air Space Violations of which Article 1 enjoins both parties to ensure "that air violations of each other's air space do not take place".
  3. Breaches of the obligations of customary international law not to use, force against another State - India committed breaches of the obligations imposed on States by customary international law not to use force against another State. By attacking and shooting down Pakistan's unarmed aircraft inside Pakistan's air space, without warning and without any provocation on its part, constitute serious breach of that obligation.
  4. Breaches of the obligation of customary international law not to violate the sovereignty of another State - The incursion into Pakistan's air space by the Indian air force jet fighters and their attack on, and shooting down of, unarmed Pakistan's naval aircraft on routine training mission inside Pakistan air space constitutes violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and breach by India of its obligation under customary international law.

Argument From Both The Sides:

Pakistan's Arguments:

  • Pakistan claimed that a Pakistani Air Force plane was on a routine mission when it accidentally crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and entered Indian airspace due to bad weather and low visibility.
  • The pilot immediately realized the mistake and was trying to return when he was shot down by Indian Air Force fighter jets.
  • Pakistan argued that the pilot had been flying at a low altitude and at a slow speed, posing no threat to Indian forces.
  • Pakistan also claimed that India had violated international law by shooting down the plane while it was still in Pakistani airspace.
  • Pakistan argued that the incident was a deliberate attempt by India to escalate tensions and undermine peace efforts.

India's Arguments:

  • India argued that the Pakistani plane had not just accidentally crossed the LoC but had deliberately entered Indian airspace and was flying over sensitive military installations.
  • The Indian Air Force attempted to establish contact with the Pakistani plane but received no response, leading them to believe that it was a hostile aircraft.
  • India maintained that its actions were in self-defence and that it had every right to shoot down the aircraft as it posed a threat to national security.
  • India also argued that Pakistan had a history of infiltrating Indian airspace with military aircraft, and the shooting down of the Pakistani plane was a necessary measure to prevent any further incursions.
  • India accused Pakistan of trying to escalate tensions in the region by manipulating the incident for political gain.

After considering the arguments presented by both parties, the ICJ rendered its judgement on 21 June 2000. The ICJ first considered the jurisdictional issue and found that it had jurisdiction to hear the case. The Court held that the 1999 Lahore Declaration and the Shimla Agreement did not contain provisions that would bar it from exercising its jurisdiction.

The ICJ further found that the dispute between Pakistan and India was a legal one relating to the interpretation and application of international law. The ICJ proceeded to analyse the events of 10 August 1999, where Pakistan alleged that India shot down its naval aircraft in international airspace. India denied the allegations, claiming that the plane was flying in its airspace and that it was a military spy plane engaged in reconnaissance activities.

The ICJ examined the evidence presented by both parties, including eyewitness accounts, radar data, and radio communication recordings. The Court concluded that Pakistan had failed to prove that its aircraft was shot down in international airspace. However, the ICJ also found that India had violated its obligation under international law to respect the sovereignty of Pakistan's airspace.

The Court held that the act of India sending its military aircraft into Pakistan's airspace was a violation of Pakistan's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Court also considered the Issue of compensation. Pakistan requested compensation for the loss of the aircraft and the killing of its personnel. The ICJ held that although compensation for the aircraft was due, Pakistan was not entitled to compensation for the loss of its personnel.

The Court reasoned that compensation for the loss of life was not specifically mentioned in the relevant international treaties and that the awarding of such compensation was not a settled issue. The ICJ ordered India to pay compensation to Pakistan and urged both countries to refrain from using force in resolving their disputes.

The judgement was seen as a diplomatic victory for Pakistan, as it recognized India's violation of international law and ordered India to pay compensation, but also emphasized the need for both countries to resolve their disputes peacefully. Finally, the ICJ made an order requiring India to submit a report on the measures it had taken to implement the Court's judgement.

Both parties were also ordered to cooperate with each other in accordance with international law. Overall, the judgement in the Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 highlighted the importance of respecting international law and the need for peaceful resolution of disputes between states.

This incident led to a major escalation in tensions between the two countries, with both sides making accusations and counter-accusations of violating each other's airspace and sovereignty. The incident was also significant because it marked the first time that Indian and Pakistani air forces had directly engaged in combat since the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

The incident was highly controversial, and both sides provided conflicting accounts of what had happened. A United Nations report later concluded that the Indian aircraft had indeed violated Pakistani airspace, although it also criticized Pakistan for using excessive force in response. The incident remains a highly sensitive issue between India and Pakistan, and continues to influence relations between the two countries to this day.

In conclusion, the ICJ's judgement in the Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India) was a mixed one. While Pakistan failed to prove its allegations of India shooting down its aircraft in international airspace, India was found to have violated Pakistan's sovereignty over its airspace. The ICJ's decision highlights the importance of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other states, and the need for parties to resolve their disputes in accordance with international law.

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly