Hijacking of aircraft: India

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IC-814 hijacked:1999

India Today December 29, 2008

On December 24,1999, five masked terrorists seized in mid-air the controls of an Indian Airlines flight (IC-814) from Kathmandu to Delhi with 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board. Six days later, the government capitulated to the Pakistani hijackers’demand for the release of three top terrorists lodged in the Indian jails. “Every time you make major concessions, you are preparing the ground for several more in the future,” India Today quoted J&K governor G.C.Saxena in January 2000.

Denial for anti-hijack operation from UAE

The Times of India, Jul 07 2015

`NSG almost raided IA's IC-814 in Dubai'

A group of NSG commandos trailed Indian Airlines' IC-814 aircraft till Dubai to attempt a possible anti-hijack operation, but had to turn back because permission was denied by the local authorities for a raid, according to one officer who was involved in the aborted attempt. The revelation comes in the face of claims by AS Dulat, former RAW chief, who was an advisor to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the 1999 hijack of the Indian Airlines aircraft, that the government did think of carrying out a commando raid.

“We boarded the special aircraft and hovered in the vicinity of Dubai, but no permission was given to us to land and carry out an operation,“ said a former National Security Guard commando involved in the 1999 incident. Dulat says in his book, “We tried to prevail on the Americans to put pressure on the UAE to allow us a raid, but India found itself isolated internationally .“

NSG's 52 Special Action Group, trained for anti-hijack operations, was involved in the airlift, the former commando said.

The hijack of the aircraft flying from Kathmandu to New Delhi by a group of Pakistani terrorists in December 1999 has come back to public discourse in the wake of Dulat's detailed reference to the incident in his book. The crisis management group comprising senior officials wasted precious time and let the hijacked aircraft, which had landed in Amritsar, to get away from Indian airspace, Dulat has admitted in the book. The hijack ended on December 31, after India released three dreaded terrorists in Kandahar.

The former NSG officer said there was much delay in the commando force being informed about the hijack.“A lot of time was wasted, we began to chase only after the aircraft took off from Amritsar,“ he said.

Dulat says in his book that the 50-minute meeting of the CMG in the wake of the crisis “degenerated into a blame game, with various senior officials trying to lay the blame for allowing the aircraft to leave Indian soil on one another; the Cabinet Secretary , being the head of the CMG was one target, and the NSG chief, Nikhil Kumar, unfortunately became another“.

BJP leaders, including then finance minister Yashwant Sinha, have claimed that all major decisions of the government were taken after due consultation with opposition parties.

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