TEHRAN (FNA)- India this afternoon withdrew its permission for a North Korean plane to overfly Indian airspace on its way to Iran, just before it could take off from Mandalay in Myanmar where it had made a stopover.
This, sources have told The Indian Express, was done after instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office this morning.
It’s learnt that on August 4, Indian authorities had given permission to the North Korean plane – its call sign is KOR 621 – to overfly Indian airspace today. The civilian plane, an IL-62, is said to be part of the country’s Air Koryo fleet and was on “non-scheduled operations”, possibly a government charter.
While seeking permission, Korean authorities had said that the plane would depart Mandalay around 1 pm today and would overfly Indian airspace on its way to Tehran. The permission, which was valid until 1 pm on August 9, was granted under routine civil aviation norms, said sources.
However, this morning, top officials of the Indian prime minister’s office are said to have hurriedly contacted Civil Aviation authorities asking them to cancel the orders. Even the return journey permission has been cancelled.
DGCA authorities got in touch with Kolkata Air Traffic Control and an urgent cancellation message was relayed to Yangon ATC, which, in turn, ensured the plane did not take off from Mandalay. Later, a formal cancellation order was sent.
The North Korean plane had not declared whether it was on passenger or freight duty. Officials were still unclear over the purpose of visit and whether Tehran was indeed the final destination or another transit halt. What prompted such urgent action is still not clear.