An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 22 March 2002

On 19th February an AN 32 flown by Air Marshal Vinod K Bhatia, to inaugurate the extended Kargil airfield, crossed the LOC for some 11 minutes and was hit by an ANZA missile fired by the Pakistanis. The aircraft lost one engine but successfully landed at Leh airfield on the other engine.

Air Marshal M S Sekhon (who has since resigned) carried out a Board of Inquiry into this incident and media reports say that both former Air Chiefs S K Kaul and Sareen have dubbed it a minor incident. On the other hand IDC believes that an aircraft flying 12 Km away from its path, that too over enemy territory, when both sides are in a mobilised state cannot be brushed off as a minor matter.

Air Marshal V K Bhatia reportedly said that he was only the co-pilot and put the blame squarely on the Navigator and the Pilot a Wing Commander.

In this regard it would be interesting to peruse the contents of the Agreement signed between India and Pakistan on 6 April 1991, on the subject of giving each other notice of Military Movements –– which seems to have been debunked in this case. IDC has separately posted a linked analysis on India’s Mobilisation.


Agreement Between Pakistan and India on Advance Notice of Military Exercises, Manoeuvres and Troop Movements –– 

6 April 1991 (New Delhi)

Whereas Pakistan and India recognise the need to jointly formulate an agreement at the Government level on giving advance notice on exercises, manoeuvres and troop movements in order to prevent any crisis situation arising due to misreading of the other side's intentions. Therefore, the Governments of Pakistan and India jointly decide that:

1. Their Land, Naval and Air Forces will avoid holding major military manoeuvres and exercises in close proximity to each other. However, if such exercises are held within distances as prescribed in this Agreement, the strategic direction of the main force being exercised will not be towards the other side, nor will any logistics building up be carried out close to it. The following will constitute a major military manoeuvre/exercise for the purposes of this Agreement:

      (a) Land Forces:

          1. India-Pakistan International Concentrations of Corps level (comprising two or      more Divisions) and above.

          2. Line of Control and the area between the Manawar Tawi and Ravi Rivers, Division level and above.

      (b)  Naval Forces: Any exercise involving six or more ships of destroyer/frigate size   and above, exercising in company and crossing into the other's Exclusive Economics Zone (EFZ).

      (c) Air Force: Regional Command level and above.

2. Both sides may not conduct exercises of Land Forces at Divisional level and above within five kilometres (kms) of the areas specified at Paragraph 1. a. 1 and 2.

3. Both sides will provide notice regarding exercises of Land Forces as follows:
      (a) All exercise/concentrations at Divisional level in areas specified at paragraph 1.a.2.

      (b) All exercise/concentrations at Corps level within a distance of seventy-five km in

areas specified at Paragraph 1. a.1. and

      (c)  All exercises above Corps level irrespective of the distance.

4. Both sides will give fifteen days prior notice when formations with defensive roles are moved to their operational locations for periodic maintenance of defences.

5. The schedule of major exercises with troops will be transmitted in writing to the other

side through diplomatic channels in advance as follows:

      (a)  Air exercises at Regional Command level and above: Fifteen days.

      (b)  Divisional level exercise, and major Naval exercise, and major Naval exercises involving six or more ships of destroyer/frigate size and above, exercising in company and crossing into the other's EEZ: Thirty days.

      (c)  Corps level exercise: Sixty days.

      (d)  Army level exercises: Ninety days provided that the above provisions relate to the commencement of moves of formations and units from their permanent locations for the proposed exercises:

6.  Information on the following aspects of major exercises will be intimated:

     (a)  Type and level of exercises.

    (b) General area of the exercise on land, air and sea. In respect of air and sea  exercises, these will be defined in latitude and longitude.

     (c)  Planned duration of the activity.

     (d)  Number and type of formations participating.

     (e)  Any shifting of forces from other Commands/Corps/Strategic formations envisaged. The move of strategic formations, particularly armoured divisions, mechanised divisions, air assault divisions/reserve infantry formations and artillery divisions/air defence artillery divisions. Provided that in respect of major Air and Naval exercise, only the information at Paragraphs a. to c. need to intimated.

7. In case some change in exercise area/grouping of participating formation from the previously notified composition is necessitated, the country carrying out the exercise will intimate the details of changes so as to reach the other country at least thirty days in advance in respect of Corps level exercises and above, and fifteen days in advance in respect of divisional level exercises and Naval exercises. In respect of Air exercises, if minor changes to the previously notified details are necessitated, an advance notice of seven days will be provided.

8. Any induction/concentration of additional troops of a division size force and above, within one hundred and fifty kms of areas specified at Paragraph 1. a.1. and 2, for internal security duties and/or in aid of civil power will be notified to the other side at least two days before the start of their movements, whenever possible. In case of immediate
movements, information may be passed on Hot Line to the Army Headquarters of the other country. The forces so employed will not move forward from their logistic bases/installations and armour/artillery.

9. Each country will be entitled to obtain timely clarification from the country undertaking military manoeuvres/exercises concerning the assembly of formations, the extent, direction of the exercise and the duration.

10. The Naval ships and submarines belonging to the other country are not to close less than three Nautical Miles (NMs) from each other so as to avoid any accident while operating in international waters.

11. Combat aircraft including fighter, bomber reconnaissance, jet military trainer and armed helicopter aircraft will not fly within ten kms of each other's airspace, including the Air Defence Identification Zones (ADIZ), except when such aircraft are operating from Jammu, Pathankot, Amritsar and Suratgarh air bases on the Indian side, as well as Pasrur, Lahore, Vehari and Rahim Yar Khan air bases on the Pakistan side, in which case they will maintain a distance of five kms from each other's airspace. Unarmed transport and logistics aircraft including unarmed helicopters and Air Observation Post (AOP) aircraft will be permitted to operate up to 1,000 metres from each other's airspace
including the ADIZ.

12. Aircraft of either country will refrain from buzzing surface units and platforms of the other country in international waters.

13. This Agreement supersedes will previous understandings in so far as the above points are concerned.

14. This Agreement is subject to ratification. It shall come into force with effect from the date on which the Instruments of Ratification are exchanged.

15. Done at New Delhi on this sixth day of April, 1991.


Shaharyar M. Khan

Foreign Secretary

Islamic Republic of Pakistan



Muchkund Dubey

Foreign Secretary

Republic of India.

One may draw one’s own conclusions from the AN-32 incident and the above Agreement.

Subsequently, the media reported that Pakistan had carried out  large scale Exercises ‘Taimur’ in POK around 20 March for two days with Infantry and Armour.

These may be pressure and morale boosting tactics, as the Indian media also reported that Indian troops were selectively demobilising. The Indian MEA spokeswoman stated Pakistan did not inform India about these exercises and this indicates that the so called Confidence Building Measures (CBM) have broken down and the World worries about the India–Pakistan situation being at a Flash point.

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