Paying close attention to missing Sukhoi, says China; search continues

The Chinese military on May 25 said that it was paying “close attention” to the incident in which an Indian Air Force fighter jet with two pilots on board went missing along the Sino-India border.

Paying “close attention” to it, Chinese defence spokesman Col Ren Guochang said when asked at a briefing about whether the Chinese military would help trace the missing Sukhoi fighter jet.

However, he declined to give any details and said that the foreign ministry has reacted on the issue on May 24.

Ren’s remarks appeared slightly positive compared to the curt comments of Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang who had said that he has no information on the missing plane and warned India that it should avoid disrupting peace and stability in Arunachal Pradesh, which China refers to as ‘South Tibet’.

“For the situation you mentioned, I have no relevant information to offer at the moment,” Lu had told the media in Bejing when asked about the missing Indian Air Force plane along the India-China border.

At the same time, he referred to the border dispute between India and China, saying that “first of all, on the eastern section of the India-China border, China’s position is consistent and clear.”

“We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability at the border areas,” Lu had said.

The SU-30 MKI plane had lost contact with the Tezpur Air Force station from where it took off at 10.30 am on Tuesday.

Mountainous terrain and thick forest cover were posing a challenge to several teams, including airborne, searching for the Indian Air Force’s missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet.
The Indian Air Force said the weather was “marginally better” on Thursday, and a C-130 aircraft with electro-optical payload and ALH helicopters of IAF are being utilised for the search mission.

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