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.
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.
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.