'Good to see Mumbai aircraft detention crisis resolved soon: US Air Force

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Agra, Oct.19 (ANI) : A senior officer of the United States Air Force on Monday said his country was happy to see the issue of the US aircraft detained in Mumbai being sorted out quickly.

Responding to queries during a press conference heldon the sidelines of the Indo-US joint Air Force exercise, Ex-Cope India 2009 in Agra, the Defense Attache of the US Embassy in New Delhi, Colonel Stuart Kowward, said the issue has been sorted out and the officials were waiting for a final signal from the Indian authorities for the aircraft to take-off.

The aircraft, which is currently detained in Mumbai, is scheduled for a 2 p.m. takeoff.It was a call issue between the pilot of the US aircraft and the ground officials.We very much appreciate the co-operation between the two sides that helped the issue to be resolved as soon as possible," Colonel Kowward said.

Colonel Kowward said it was the strong bond shared between the two countries which helped the matter to be resolved within such a short span of time.

"It was the strength of the US-India relationship which helped the issue to be resolved soon," he added.

This is the second instance of a US plane violating Indian airspace, but the Indian Air Force gave the green signal for the plane to leave after hectic parleys with US embassy officials in New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs and US authorities.

All the 205 passengers, who were on board the plane, were on Sunday night shifted to a five-star hotel in the western suburbs of Mumbai. Security has been beefed up in and around the hotel premises.

The chartered US military aircraft - Boeing 767 - belongs to the North American Airlines. The plane was carrying 205 US Marines from Fujairah, UAE to Bangkok.

The Indian Air Force ordered the plane to land on Sunday morning at the Mumbai Airport after it found a discrepancy in the aircraft"s call sign. After a seven-hour drama, it was given the go-ahead to proceed. By Shashank Shantanu (ANI)

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