A Georgian An-12 aircraft which entered Indian airspace on Friday afternoon was intercepted by the Indian Air Force and forced to land for an investigation, a statement from the Press Information Bureau (Defence Wing) said.
According to PTI, the aircraft was on its way from Tblisi to New Delhi via Karachi and entered the country’s airspace from an unscheduled point in North Gujarat Sector at 3:15 in the afternoon with its IFF (identification, friend or foe) radar turned on.
The aircraft was not responding to radio calls from Indian controlling agencies, said the statement.
The statement added that since ATS routes in the area were closed due to the current geopolitical situation, Air Defence interceptors on operational readiness were scrambled and vectored toward the aircraft.
The IAF has been maintaining highest levels of alertness since the Balakot strikes in Pakistan on February 26
“On visual contact, the aircraft was identified as Georgian An-12 flying at 27,000 feet. The aircraft neither responded on the 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 taken off from Tbilisi (Georgia) for Delhi via Karachi,” said the statement. The aircraft was forced to land, it added.
Later, Jaipur’s Additional Commissioner Laxman Gaur was quoted by PTI saying, “Nothing suspicious was found in the investigation. The plane has been released.”
(with PTI inputs)