India deploys Rafale jets after ‘UFO’ sighting over airport in Manipur
The air space above Imphal was closed after the sighting and flight operations remained suspended for more than three hours.
A Rafale jet (ANI Photo)
THE Indian Air Force (IAF), soon after receiving information about the alleged sighting of an unidentified flying objects (UFO) near Bir Tikendrajit International Airport in Imphal in the north-eastern state of Manipur on Sunday (19), scrambled its Rafale fighter aircraft to search for them.
The object was sighted over the airport around 2:30 pm local time after which a few commercial flights were affected.
“Soon after information about the UFO near the Imphal airport was received, a Rafale fighter aircraft from a nearby airbase was scrambled to go and search for the UFO,” defence sources told Asian News International.
“The aircraft equipped with advanced sensors carried out low-level flying over the suspected area to look for the UFO but it did not find anything there,” they said, adding that after the first aircraft returned, one more Rafale fighter was sent for the search but the UFO was not seen around the area.
“The agencies concerned are trying to find out the details of the UFO as there are videos of the UFO over the Imphal airport,” they said.
Soon after the Imphal airport was cleared for flying, the Eastern Command of the IAF headquartered in Shillong in the state of Meghalaya stated that it had activated its air defence response mechanism without giving any specific details of the steps taken by it. The air space above Imphal was closed and flight operations remained suspended for more than three hours.
The Rafale fighters of the IAF are deployed at the Hasimara air base in the eastern state of West Bengal and keep flying from different air bases in the eastern sector along the China border.
The Rafale fighters recently also took part in the mega Air Force exercise Poorvi Akash along the China border where all major assets of the force participated along with the troops of the Indian army.
Manipur has been witnessing serious violence over a few months resulting from ethnic clashes that caused several deaths and injuries and destruction of properties.