New Delhi: India Friday condoled the death of 298 people, including an Indian-origin crew member, who were on board the ill-fated Malaysian passenger plane which was shot down by suspected pro-Russian rebels over the Ukranian airspace on Thursday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a statement this morning, expressing his grief over the incident, while Parliament paid homage to the victims by observing a minute's silence.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives on board Flight MH17. We stand with them in this hour of grief," Modi, who returned to India last night after his trip to Brazil for a BRICS summit, tweeted this morning.
Coincidentally, the PM's Air India-One was reportedly on the same route as the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines plane which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, but about an hour behind the flight MH-17. After the crash, Modi's flight was re-routed, among many other planes.
Though the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry said that no Indian national was on board the Malaysian plane, reports said an ethnic Indian, Sanjid Singh Sandu, was on that flight. The 41-year-old steward had switched his shift with a colleague on the ill-fated Boeing 777 plane.
The Indian aviation regulator has now directed the country's national carrier Air India and private airlines Jet Airways -- the only two airlines to fly to Europe and America -- to avoid the troubled eastern Ukraine.