There are different theories on how close Prime Minister Narendra Modi was, when he was aboard the Air India One that flew over Ukraine on Thursday, the day Malaysian Airlines MH17 crashed.
One report suggests that Modi's Air India flight would have flown over the zone where the Malaysian Airlines MH-17 was shot down.
While Modi is said to have not been in danger, his plane was scheduled to fly over the Ukraine Flight Information Region just an hour after the ill-fated MH-17, reported The Hindu. The report suggests that if Modi's plane had continued to fly on its path, it would have flown over the crash zone just an hour later, but is said to have been diverted following information from officials.
"There was no danger to the PM's plane, but obviously the area that they would have flown over would have been the same. The pilot would have to decide whether to divert over Russia or the Black sea instead," an aviation official told the newspaper.
However, a Times of India report suggests that Modi had flown out of Ukraine just minutes before MH17 exploded mid-air and came crashing down, and that the Air India plane was on the farthest flight path from it.
Air India One, that was flying Modi back from Frankfurt to Delhi was almost 200km away from MH17's assigned airway, an official told TOI, and was flying on the "Mike 991" aerial route, which is said to be in the south of the country and the farthest from the conflict zone in the northeastern part of Ukraine. Another Air India plane AI 113 was also said to be in proximity to the crash zone just 75 kilometers away, and was 125 km away from the flight path of the plane in which Modi was travelling.
The government also officially denied that there was any danger to Modi. "I think that is speculation. There was no danger to our PM's aircraft. No problem. On Air India One, the flight data is on foreign radar," civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters on Friday as speculations were rife over the Prime Minister's safety.
Modi was returning to the country after attending the BRICS Summit in Brazil earlier in the week. He tweeted post the incident saying –
Our thoughts & prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives on board Flight MH17. We stand with them in this hour of grief.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 18, 2014
Flight MH17 is suspected to have been brought down by a surface-to-air missile used by militants fighting against the Ukranian government and speculations by international leaders point at Russia's role in the incident.
Meanwhile, India's aviation regulatory authority has issued directions to Air India and Jet Airways - the only two airlines that operate flights to Europe and America - to avoid eastern Ukraine, as per reports.