What happened during standoff between IAF, Iran plane after ‘bomb threat’

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) was quick to jump into action after it had received reports about a bomb scare on a China-bound Iranian civilian plane that was flying over the Indian airspace, directly over the national capital of New Delhi.

The quick and precise reaction of the IAF led to a six-hour long standoff between the Iranian plane and fighter jets in the air, while the Iranian civilian plane bound to China remained in the Indian airspace for over 40 minutes, as per reports.

An intimation was received of the bomb scare on an airline bearing Iranian registration when it was transiting through Indian airspace, the IAF said, adding the plane was offered the option to land at Jaipur or Chandigarh but the pilots refused to divert.

The Iranian plane was a Mahan Air flight W581 aircraft and was set to land in Guangzhou in China when an alert was triggered. The plane had begun its journey from Tehran, Iran, and had caused a major security threat in India.

“IAF fighter aircraft were scrambled, which followed the aircraft at a safe distance. The aircraft was offered the option to land at Jaipur and then, at Chandigarh. However, the pilot declared his unwillingness to divert to either of the two airports,” officials said.

Meanwhile, the airlines of Iran issued an official statement regarding the incident, saying that there was no bomb threat regarding the civilian flight, and such reports were spread to “disturb the security and mental peace” of the nation.

Iranian news agency IRNA quoted a statement from Mahan Air which said, “As soon as the pilot was alerted about the possibility of a bomb attack, he informed the control tower and requested an emergency landing in India.”

Meanwhile, a senior Delhi Police officer said they received a call about the bomb scare on an Iran-China flight from the Air Traffic Control but soon they were informed by the ATC that the flight was not landing in Delhi.

The IAF also said that all actions were taken by the force as per the laid down procedure, jointly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). An alert regarding the same was also sounded in Lahore, after which authorities in Delhi sprung into action.

(With PTI inputs)

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