MEA directs Defence Ministry to let go UAE military aircraft

     The Ministry of External Affairs has reportedly directed the Defence Ministry to let go the UAE Air Force plane that was detained in Kolkata after arms and ammunition were found on board. On Tuesday, 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 decision to facilitate early release of the China-bound plane was taken after the UAE government and embassy in New Delhi "formally regretted" not divulging contents of the cargo and that matter was reduced to a "technical error". 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. On Sunday, the plane was on its way to China and had requested permission for landing. The ATC asked it to identify its cargo. When the pilot said it was arms, the plane was detained in the hangar at Kolkata airport. Customs was asked to inspect the cargo, and the captain refused saying he had no permission. The Indian authorities soon discovered a large amount of arms and explosives on board, and the crew of the plane was questioned for several hours. According to TIMES NOW, the report sent to the three ministries contains information about the cargo on the aircraft listing all the arms and ammunition found on board. The ministries have also been sent a copy of a document from the UAE embassy before the plane landed clearly stating that the plane was not carrying any ammunition. Details have also been 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. The concerned ministries could seek further clarifications from the UAE embassy over why the plane''''s crew said there were no arms or ammunition on board. The Centre could also demand answers from the Delhi Regional Command on why it gave the plane permission to land. If satisfied with the explanations, the plane may be permitted to fly out of the country.

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