The Indian Air Force today intercepted a Georgian AN-12 transport plane which entered the Indian air space from Pakistan, deviating from its flight path, the Indian defence ministry said.
The aircraft was forced to land at Jaipur airfield by air defence aircraft of the IAF, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting a defence ministry statement.
It said the plane entered the Indian air space in North Gujarat sector at 1515 hrs Indian time. 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,” an apparent reference to the India-Pakistan standoff following Indian air strikes on a terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February, the Georgian aircraft entered the Indian air space from an unscheduled point, the statement said.
It said that the air defence interceptor on operational readiness was scrambled and vectored towards the Georgian aircraft for investigation.
“On visual contact, the aircraft was identified as Georgian AN-12 flying at 27,000 feet. The aircraft neither responded on international distress frequency nor to visual signals during interception,” according to the statement.
“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. The aircraft was shadowed and forced to land at Jaipur for necessary investigation,” the Indian Defence Ministry said.
India had carried out the air strikes in Balakot on February 26 in the wake of the deadly terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based group, on a convoy of Indian paramilitary personnel that left 40 people dead on February 12.