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Business News/ News / India/  Spy balloon above Port Blair? US-China row shines new light on UFO as India stays mum
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Spy balloon above Port Blair? US-China row shines new light on UFO as India stays mum

Post the Chinese Spy Balloon shoot down incident, several government have raised concern on the snooping of the Xi-Jinping led government. Beijing , however, has insisted that it was a weather balloon that drifted far away.

(Representative image) (AP)Premium
(Representative image) (AP)

While Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have caused significant trouble for the western super powers over the weeks since the Chinese spy balloon was shot down by US defense forces.  Since after the shooting down incident several UFOs were reportedly spotted in several other parts of the globe, or were they?

A recent white sphere on the horizon of the Indian archipelago, Andaman and Nicobar islands, became a hot topic when it was suspected to be another ‘spy balloon’. 

Many spotted the object in the sky that resembled a full moon, and were curious to figure out what it was. A ‘high altitude surveillance balloon’ did not seem high on many people’s guess list.

Local news outlet the Andaman Sheekha said many suspected that it was a weather balloon, however, there wasn't many takers for this either.  The local news outlet also mentioned that the object seemed to sport “eight dark panels" hanging from it. 

Under the headline, “Unidentified Flying Object over Port Blair city triggers curiosity and rumor," the Sheekha posed a question: “In this age of ultra advanced satellites, who will use a flying object to spy?"

Post the Chinese Spy Balloon shoot down incident, several government have raised concern on the snooping of the Xi-Jinping led government. Beijing , however, has insisted that it was a weather balloon that drifted far away. 

China has strongly denied running a balloon surveillance program. It maintains the vessel downed by the US was a weather balloon thrown off course. 

India, on the other hand, has remained silent on the Chinese Spy Balloon or any other Unidentified Flying object debacle. 

But why Andaman and Nicobar?

While the Narendra Modi-led government's silence to comment on anything related to China raises suspicions of triggering a diplomatic crisis between both countries, which probably the BJP leader would not want ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

The Andaman and the Nicobar islands are not much lucrative on commerce or population. however the island archipelago enjoys a much demanded strategic position that could be of interest to foreign intelligentsia. 

As a major outpost in the Indian Ocean, the islands join the Bay of Bengal with the wider Indo-Pacific, via the Malacca Strait – one of the busiest and most important trade routes in the world.

The location also makes the islands a strategic military asset for India, and they are home to the only integrated tri-service (army, navy, air force) base of the Indian armed forces.

In recent years, New Delhi has poured great effort into enhancing the islands’ prospects as a military base, with Modi in 2019 unveiling a decade-long plan to add more troops, warships and aircraft to its existing fleet.

Meanwhile, the bigger question remains if a ‘spy balloon’ would be enough to gather intel enough?

With the three pronged plan to counter China's aggressive efforts in the north through and about Himalayas, a suspected spy balloon on the Andaman and Nicobar islands could add to just another possible security breach for the Indian sub-continent governed by the Narendra Modi led government.  

 

 

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Published: 20 Feb 2023, 03:38 PM IST
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