IAF forces plane from Karachi to land after deviating from flight plan
The An-12 aircraft deviated from its scheduled flight path on its way from Karachi to Delhi.
A cargo plane that took off from Karachi in Pakistan and diverted from its flight plan to enter Indian air space in the north Gujarat sector was forced to land in Jaipur on Friday afternoon.
The IAF scrambled two Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets to intercept the cargo plane after radars detected the aircraft entering airspace around 3.15 pm.
One fighter jet flew in from Jodhpur, the second was pressed in from Bareilly.
“The aircraft entered Indian air space from an unscheduled point in North Gujarat. It was successfully intercepted by highly alert IAF Air Defence aircraft and was forced to land at Jaipur airfield,” said a statement by the IAF.
The aircraft, which was flying at 27,000 feet, neither responded on international distress frequency nor to visual signals during interception. The aircraft finally responded when challenged. “The aircraft was shadowed and forced to land at Jaipur for necessary investigation,” the IAF statement said.
An Air Traffic Control source said the aircraft had taken off from Tbilisi, Georgia, and had all the requisite permissions. But it was supposed to be in touch with Mumbai and Ahmedabad ATC but diverted towards Indian airspace.
Also, the aircraft did not respond to radio calls from Indian controlling agencies.
“Since ATS routes in the area were closed due to the current geopolitical situation… the Air Defence interceptor on operational readiness was scrambled and vectored towards the unknown aircraft for investigation,” the air force later said.
Hundreds of commercial and cargo flights have been affected by continuing tensions between India and Pakistan. Restrictions over Pakistani airspace have forced international airlines including those from India to take costly and lengthy detours.
The air strikes followed a suicide attack in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers and was followed by the Balakot air strikes that targeted a training facility run by terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed.