Source AP ©

Indonesia says Indian missile test forced Garuda passenger jet to turn back

An Indonesian passenger jet was forced to turn around over Indian airspace after a nuclear-capable ballistic missile streaked across the sky, the Foreign Ministry said Friday, demanding an explanation from New Delhi.

"We will summon India's diplomat here soon to seek official clarification," ministry spokesman Kristiarto Legowo said following India's test-launch on Thursday. "We have to make sure this does not happen in the future."

The Garuda Indonesia plane was carrying 413 Muslim pilgrims from the capital, Jakarta, to Saudi Arabia, when the Indian control tower told pilots the missile had been launched, said Ari Sapari, the national carrier's director.

"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 expense."

The Boeing 747 immediately returned to Jakarta and took off again for Jeddah seven hours later, he told The Associated Press. Another Garuda plane bound for Riyadh also had to delay its departure because of the test.

India said Thursday it had successfully test-fired its longest-range missile, the Agni III, which is designed to reach 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) - putting China's major cities well into range, as well as targets deep in the Middle East.

The missile was launched from Wheeler Island off the eastern state of Orissa and is also said to be capable of carrying up to a 300-kiloton nuclear warhead.

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