NEW DELHI, India, May 7, Reuter: Indian fighter jets scrambled and forced three French civilian aircraft to land after the foreign planes’ flew across an airbase in West India, a defence ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

The three aircraft were made to land in Ahmadabad on Thursday night because they were not flying on the scheduled route, the spokesman told Reuters.

One of the three planes apparently developed technical problems after taking off from New Delhi airport on the way to Karachi in Pakistan, a French embassy official said.

The pilot turned back and after repairs decided to take a short cut that meant flying over an airbase in Jodhpur.

The official said the three Fokker planes had just been bought from Air Tahiti by the domestic French carrier UNI Air International and were being flown to the airline’s base in the southern French city of Toulouse.

The pilot of the troubled plane and seven crew members, all Frenchmen, were being questioned by Indian authorities in Ahmadabad, capital of Gujarat state, the defence spokesman said.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 13, 1988