The so-called UFO or unidentified flying object that was spotted near PM Narendra Modi’s residence, which gave intelligence and security agencies a heart attack, was nothing but an electronic toy plane-like drone, easily available in Chinese markets for about Rs 3-5,000, (for the basic models) possibly belonging to the kids of one of the VVIPs living in the area, an intelligence source has revealed.
“There are lots of rich VVIP kids living in the area, who like fancy toys. Our investigation has shown that the object was a remote-operated toy drone, possibly Chinese made – which are easily available in toy markets for as little as Rs 5,000/-. Such drones can fly for about 2 kilometers and reach a maximum height of about 200 feet. More professional drones are normally used for aerial photography and can go up to a maximum height of about 300 to 500 feet and can cost Rs 20-30,000/-.
The reported sighting of a round “unidentified flying object” hovering over the Prime Minister’s residence on New Delhi’s Lok Kalyan Marg on June 7 briefly unnerved security personnel posted in the VIP area and sparked a search that found nothing, putting their suspicions to rest, a senior security officer said.
After the search ended, the Perimeter Security Officer gave an “OK Report” to Delhi police.
But you know what they say about UFOs: it’s only a UFO until someone identifies it.
If the flying object was indeed a spacecraft sent from another intelligent species — as multiple jokes on Twitter would have you believe — it clearly couldn’t care much about the strict government rules that apply around the highly protected area in the national capital. The airspace around the prime minister’s residence in a 2-kilometre radius is strictly a ‘no-fly zone’.
Special commissioner of police and Delhi police chief spokesperson Dependra Pathak confirmed the sighting but said details of the incident cannot be revealed. “The sighting was reported but nothing threatening was found. More details cannot be shared keeping security reasons in mind,” Pathak added.
According to the officer cited in the first instance, who did not wish to be named, it was around 7.30 pm when the PM’s security unit of Delhi Police and the Delhi airport operations control centre, which comprises staff from the air force, Central Industrial Security Force and Delhi International Airport Ltd, received information about the sighting by Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel. The officer mentioned that the object could be a toy, possibly operated by paparazzi trying to get an exclusive pix of the PM’s residence or a kid playing in the vicinity.
With no delay, the alert was relayed to the Intelligence Bureau and National Security Guards. Delhi Air Traffic Control (ATC) was also put on high alert.
“The Delhi Police was also roped in, which ensured a temporary additional deployment on the outer periphery of the PM’s residence, while other security agencies performed the drill to hunt the suspected threat down,” the officer cited above said.
It isn’t the first time that such an incident has taken place. On September 17, 2017, around 10pm, the Delhi police security control room was informed about the sighting of a drone-like object around the Parliament area. But no object was captured on the ATC’s radar, which cannot capture small flying objects in any case.
In the same month, the Delhi Police control room informed ATC about the presence of a drone-like flying object over a hospital in a southern suburb. A search found nothing.
In November, the ministry of civil aviation unveiled draft regulations for use of drones in the country. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is awaiting a response from the ministry of home affairs and the ministry of defence to finalise guidelines for the use of drones.