An Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jet on Friday (May 10) forced an Antonov AN-12 aircraft airborne to Delhi from Tbilisi in Georgia via Karachi to land at the Jaipur airport after it violated the Indian air space.
According to an IAF statement, the AN-12 aircraft carrying heavy cargo deviated from its scheduled flight path from Karachi and entered Indian Air Space at 3.15 pm from an unscheduled point in north Gujarat. The plane was released after a few hours calling the incident a minor technical violation.
"The aircraft did not follow the authorized Air Traffic Services (ATS) route and was not responding to Radio calls from Indian controlling agencies. Since ATS routes in the area were closed due to the current geopolitical situation, and the aircraft entered Indian Air Space from an unscheduled point, the Air Defence interceptor on operational readiness was scrambled and vectored towards the unknown aircraft for investigation," said the statement by the defence ministry.
The statement said that the aircraft did not respond to the visual signals nor the distress calls. After the plane was challenged by the IAF, it responded saying that it was a non-scheduled An-12 aircraft that had got airborne from Tbilisi for Delhi via Karachi.
According to the reports, the aircraft was spotted by two Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter jets of the IAF at an altitude of 27,000 feet. The cargo plane entered the Indian air space around 70 kms north of an air base in the Rann of Kutch, which is closed for civilian air traffic, reports NDTV.
However, the aircraft was released after the pilot and flight crew were questioned by the authorities. The aircraft was leased by a Ukrainian engine manufacturer ''MotorSich'' and was an expected flight on a scheduled route and is not being seen as a major crisis. "It wasn't a serious violation, it's been released," said the Additional Commissioner of Police, Jaipur, reports ANI.