MiG 21
The MiG 21 reportedly crashed in Bikaner in Rajasthan.Twitter/ShivAroor

An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 Bison fighter jet crashed in Rajasthan on Friday, March 8. The pilot of the fighter jet has managed to eject safely. Bikaner's superintendent of police told a news agency that the MiG-21 jet crashed in Bikaner's Shoba Sar ki Dhani area, 12 kilometres outside of Bikaner city.

According to reports, the MiG-21 had taken off from IAF's Nal airbase on a routine mission this afternoon when it suffered a technical problem. Initial inputs suggest that the aircraft malfunctioned due to a bird hit, a defence spokesperson said.

Taking to Twitter, the Indian Air Force said, "Today afternoon a MiG-21 aircraft on a routine mission crashed after getting airborne from Nal near Bikaner. The pilot of the aircraft ejected safely. A CoI [Court of Inquiry] will investigate the cause of the accident."

MiG-21 crash
A fire tender being rushed to the site of the MiG-21 crash. Twitter/ANI
MiG-21 wreckage
One of the pictures of plane wreckage that Pakistani authorities released saying it belonged to a MiG-21 of the Indian Air Force (IAF) that was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jet over the line of control (LoC) in Kashmir.

The cause of the accident will be investigated by a court of inquiry. The MiG-21 crash in Rajasthan comes at a time of heightened tensions between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan. The fighter jet was involved during a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani air forces on February 27, a day after the IAF launched an air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot. IAF braveheart Abhinandan Varthaman was captured on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison was hit by the Pakistan Army across the Line of Control (LoC).

(This is a developing story. More details awaited.)