VIP Indian Air Force flight IFC 31 (Meghdoot) carrying Indian external Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj en route from India to Mauritius on her way to South Africa to attend BRICS summit got incommunicado for 14 minutes on June 2, Airports Authority of India (AAI) confirmed in a statement.
Mauritius authorities had declared “INCERFA” alarm, which is known to be an ‘aviation parlance’ that readily means that the aircraft has entered an uncertainty phase wherein it is not known if the aircraft and its occupants are safe.
“Aircraft changed over from Indian airspace to Male ATC which then established contact with the aircraft at 4.44 pm IST. However, IFC 31 could not contact Mauritius ATC after entering Mauritius airspace. Mauritius ATC then activated INCERFA (the uncertainty phase). Later at 4.58pm IST, IFC 31 came in contact with Mauritius ATC and landed. Mauritius ATC activated INCERFA (uncertainty phase) without allowing the stipulated time period of 30 minutes to lapse from the time when aircraft last contacted ATC. This was perhaps done because the flight was carrying a VIP,” AAI statement revealed.
Ministry of External Affairs confirms that during Swaraj’s visit to South Africa she will attend BRICS summit on June 4 and will also greet and mark her presence on the 125th anniversary of the historic incident where Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment in Pietermaritzburg railway station.
She will also chair a meeting of Foreign Ministers of IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), to strengthen ties and cooperation among the three countries on key global issues, the statement further reads.