Arms-laden aircraft: UAE says pilot made technical error
A China-bound cargo plane of UAE's Air Force detained in Kolkata after arms and ammunition were found on board will be released soon after India was told that its pilot committed a "technical error" over declaring the consignment for which regret was expressed.india Updated: Sep 08, 2009 23:02 IST
A China-bound cargo plane of UAE's Air Force detained in Kolkata after arms and ammunition were found on board will be released soon after India was told that its pilot committed a "technical error" over declaring the consignment for which regret was expressed.
Customs authorities in Kolkata meanwhile were awaiting a green signal from the External Affairs ministry before the C-130 Hercules aircraft that remained grounded for the third day today can be cleared to resume its flight which originated from Abu Dhabi.
An External Affairs Ministry statement said the UAE authorities both in New Delhi and Abu Dhabi have since formally regretted the omission in clearly indicating items carried by the aircraft and have described it as a "technical error." They have also provided details about the cargo which consists of Combat Missile, the statement said.
The statement further said the matter will be resolved in the spirit of the close and friendly ties between India and the UAE and "we will facilitate early release of the aircraft."
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told reporters in New Delhi, "The UAE government authorities have approached us to say that it was the technical mistake which the pilot has committed."
Krishna further said that in view of the "friendly relations" India had with the UAE he was in consultation with other departments of the government and take a call.
In Kolkata, the interrogation of the pilot and nine crew members of the aircraft were completed and the Customs had sent detailed reports to the External Affairs Ministry last night, airport officials said. The 10 crew members have been shifted to another hotel for "security reasons". The plane was on a scheduled transit halt in Kolkata.