'Minor Route Violation': IAF Releases Georgian Cargo Plane From Karachi That Made Unscheduled Entry
A senior police officer later said that the plane had been released as it had made a 'minor route violation', which was not serious.
Jaipur: An AN-12 aircraft of Georgia was intercepted by the Indian Air Force after it entered Indian air space from Pakistan, deviating from its flight path and was forced to land at Jaipur airfield by air defence aircraft of the IAF, in Jaipur, Friday, May 10, 2019. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: An Indian Air Force aircraft on Friday successfully intercepted a heavy-cargo plane Antonov AN-12 from Tbilisi in Georgia after it deviated from its scheduled route from Karachi to Delhi and entered the Indian airspace from an unauthorised point of access.
The IAF aircraft forced the plane to land at the Jaipur airfield after it entered via an unscheduled point in north Gujarat. The incident took place at 3.15 pm.
Official sources said two Sukhoi 30 aircraft were scrambled to intercept the aircraft, adding that the IAF has been maintaining the highest levels of alertness since the Balakot strikes in Pakistan on February 26.
"The aircraft did not follow the authorised 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," the Press Information Bureau said in a statement.
On visual contact, the aircraft was identified as a Georgian An-12 flying at an altitude of 27,000 feet.
"The aircraft neither responded on international distress frequency nor to visual signals during interception. However, when challenged, the aircraft responded and informed that it was a non-scheduled An-12 aircraft that had got airborne from Tbilisi (Georgia) for Delhi via Karachi," said the statement. "The aircraft was shadowed and forced to land at Jaipur for necessary investigation."
The pilots of the aircraft were questioned. Jaipur Additional Commissioner of Police Laxman Gaur later said the plane has been released. "It was a minor route violation, the plane was made to land in Jaipur due to security concerns," he said. "It wasn't a serious violation, it's been released."
The interception comes a few months after the IAF and the Pakistan Air Force were involved in a dogfight after the Balakot cross-border air strikes.
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