Krishna says India will facilitate early release of detained UAE aircraft

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New Delhi, Sep.8 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna on Tuesday said that India will facilitate the early release of the detained UAE Air Force plane that was heading for China.

In a statement issued here, Krishna 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."

Recalling the incident, he said that the UAE Embassy had sought clearance for over flying and landing of their Air Force flight at Kolkata Airport en route to Xianyang, China.

He said that the flight arrived from Abu Dhabi at Kolkata Airport on September 6 and the captain of the flight, Major Ibrahim Alshamsei, filed a declaration to the Customs stating that the flight was carrying arms/ammunition/explosives.

"However, since at the time of initial application, no mention of the arms and ammunition was made, the authorities at Kolkata Airport detained the aircraft for further investigation. Accordingly, after the concurrence of the pilot-in-command of the aircraft, the Custom Officials entered the aircraft to inquire about the nature of cargo.

The UAE authorities both here and in 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 a combat missile," Krishna said.

Earlier, Kolkata officials had sent a detailed report to New Delhi on the detained UAE military aircraft, two days after it landed and was found to be carrying a huge consignment of undeclared arms and explosives.

The plane is still grounded while its crew has been released but asked not leave Kolkata.

The UAE government meanwhile said on Tuesday that it was in "constant contact" with the Indian officials over its Air Force plane.

UAE Foreign Ministry"s Director-General Juma Al Junaibi confirmed in a statement in which he stressed the deep-rooted relations between the UAE and India and also reiterated UAE"s respect for India"s sovereignty.

The China-bound cargo plane of the United Arab Emirates Air Force was detained and its ten crew members including the pilot questioned when customs officials found arms and ammunition on board the aircraft after it made a scheduled transit landing at the Kolkata airport.

Sources say Kolkata Customs Officials have sent the information to the Defence, Finance and External Affairs Ministries at the centre.

Details were also submitted of how the Delhi Regional Command gave the plane the go ahead to land in Kolkata when it had not declared the true nature of its cargo. (ANI)

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