The flight path taken by two American MH-47 Chinook helicopters to Abbottabad in Pakistan on a mission to kill Osama bin Laden in May last year triggered a controversy with questions being raised as to whether they flew over the Indian airspace.
A just-published book, containing a first-hand account of the raid on the Al Qaeda leader's hideout in the Pakistan garrison town near Islamabad, contains a map showing the flight path of the two helicopters after they took off from Jalalabad in Afghanistan in the dead of the night on May 1.
The map shows the helicopters crossing Pakistan's eastern border with India before looping around and approaching Abbottabad from the South East during teh operation.
The book – 'No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy SEAL' -- is written by one of the US Navy SEALS Matt Bissonnette, who participated in the operation, using pseudonym "Mark Owen".
Questions about whether the helicopters flew over the Indian airspace have been raised by a popular US website Redstate, described as a leading conservative news blog. This has set off a debate in the cyber world.
The blog states that "this apparent use of Indian air space" raises questions including whether the Indian government had advance knowledge about the Abbottabad mission and whether the US had sought and was granted permission to use Indian air space.
Indian Air Force sources in New Delhi today dismissed this hypothesis and said the US helicopters had not crossed into Indian airspace at all.