A fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday intercepted and shot down a suspicious “balloon-shaped object” near Barmer in Rajasthan.
The IAF first detected a “balloon-shaped object” on its radar, violating secure airspace during the Republic Day celebrations, following which a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft was scrambled to intercept and shoot down the suspicious object.
Security agencies have not ruled out the possibility that the object was flown in from across the border, given the location’s vicinity to Pakistan.
In an official statement, an IAF official confirmed that “between 1030 and 1100 hours today (Tuesday), an unidentified balloon-shaped object was picked up by IAF radar. An IAF fighter was launched, which intercepted the object and brought it down. Further investigation is under progress.”
Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha said a team of the IAF was sent to investigate the matter and further details were awaited.
First to the scene, the Barmer police said residents of Gugdi village, about 20km from Balotra town near Kishor Singh Ki Dhani area, had first reported hearing an “explosion”, followed by similar reports from Panawada village in Baitu area. Police teams were subsequently rushed to the two spots.
According to police reports, the teams collected about four to five solid pieces of debris at both places but they were not of any explosive material. The police said the pieces were collected and sent for examination, and air force officials were informed.
Additional superintendent of police Jassaram Bose confirmed the report and said the villagers had also claimed that the “blast” had caused cracks in their houses.
The recent incident comes about a month after a similar incident was reported in Sinli Jagir village in Barmer, where villagers claimed that debris from an aircraft had fallen in the area after a “mysterious explosion”. Samples of the debris were collected and handed over the air force for examination, but no report has been released in the case so far.