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India calls for 'broad-based' International probe into MH17 downing

PTI 10 Aug 2014, 17:26:26 PM IST
Bhuyan Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar): India today sought a “broad-based” international investigation into the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane in Ukraine and called for steps to ensure that such a tragedy was not repeated.  External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in her address at the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers Meeting here, also underlined the need for finding a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine.

“The senseless loss of lives in the crash of MH17 on July 17 has left the international community with responsibility to ensure safety of civil aviation. Parties in conflict situations must urgently abjure violence and work for diplomatic solutions,” Swaraj said.

“We must ensure that such a tragedy is never repeated. A broad-based international investigation must cover all aspects of this incident,” she said.

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 298 people on board was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was downed between Krasni Luch in Luhansk region and Shakhtarsk in the neighbouring region of Donetsk, Ukraine. All 298 people were killed.

It is believed that flight MH17 crashed after being hit by a surface-to-air missile fired from the rebel-held area.  The Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists fighting for independence in the east of the country have blamed each other for the shooting down of the plane.  

Last month, in the aftermath of the tragedy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to his Malaysian counterpart saying the global outrage over the shooting down of aircraft MH17 was “justifiable” and India supports efforts to establish the exact circumstances of the incident.  

In the letter to Najib Razak, Modi had expressed his condolences on the loss of lives on board MH17.  Modi said there is “justifiable outrage across the world and India fully supports efforts for an investigation that can help establish the exact circumstances” in which the incident took place.

Modi had also written to his Netherlands counterpart Mark Rutte condoling the death of Dutch nationals in the tragedy.  The Malaysia Airlines plane was carrying 192 Dutch nationals, 44 Malaysians (including 15 crew), 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and 10 Britons (including one with dual South African citizenship), four Germans, four Belgians, three from the Philippines, and one each from Canada and New Zealand.