The hunt for an Indian Airforce Antonov AN-32 transport aircraft is still on with absolutely no trace. The plane went missing less than 24 hours ago. It is learnt that the aircraft was on a routine maintenance mission. It left Jorhat in Assam headed for Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh. Menchuka is very close t the Chinese Border. 33 minutes after the take off the flight went off the radar. The last contact with the Antonov AN 32 aircraft was established at 1 Pm on Monday. There were eight aircrew members and five passengers on the missing AN-32.
Search and rescue missions have been on and the search has been intensified. The IAF has deployed C-130J or the Hercules along with Sukhoi and several other helicopters to find the missing plane. There were reports of a crash site but upon inspection there was absolutely no wreckage found whatsoever. The Indian Army and the elite Indian Tibetan Border Protection force also popularly known as ITBP is engaged in search operations on the ground. The new Defence Minister of India has also expressed his concerns about the safety of the people on board the missing aircraft.
Does China have a role to play in the missing Antonov AN-32 IAF Aircraft?
It is no surprise that the Indian Airforce has aging aircrafts in its hangars across the country. The Aircraft in question here the Antonov AN-32 which account for about 100 in the IAF fleet. IAF has confirmed that the aircrafts are in excellent condition and also extremely reliable. But it has to be noted that the Aircrafts were inducted into the IAF in the 1980s which is almost 40 years ago.
Another angle to the missing plane is also the proximity of the landing destination to the Chinese border. The Aircraft was headed to Menchuka which is just 35 kms from the Indo Chinese Border. “Was there some mischief by the Chinese armed forces?” also needs to be probed. Menchuka was inactive since 2013 and has been recently re-activated in 2018. Is the recent re-activation of the Menchuka Advanced Landing Ground a cause of concern to the Chinese. All this at this point is just speculation. Search operations are still underway and serious results are eagerly awaited.