Chinese 'spy balloon': Amid a series of controversies that erupted following two Chinese "spy balloons" hovering over the skies of the United States, it is crucial to comprehend whether a similar attempt was made to keep an eye on India too. Although neither the Government of India nor the Indian Air Force acknowledged any such incidents against New Delhi, several media reports claimed Beijing had made a similar move to snoop on India.
A media report claimed that a similar balloon was spotted hovering high over an important naval facility in India. The incident was reported in January last year. However, the media reports did not proffer any concrete evidence to support its claims. An Andaman Nicobar-based media outlet reported similar activities with alike balloons.
Mysterious balloon spotted in Andaman Nicobar
"In a curious development, an unidentified flying object was spotted by hundreds of residents of Port Blair city this afternoon. Since the object was at a high altitude, higher than some clouds, it appeared as if the object is stationary and hovering just over our heads. The white sphere-shaped object, looking somewhat like a weather balloon, attracted many eyeballs because of its size and shiny white surface," AndamanSHEEKHA wrote in its report published on January 22, 2022.
"Zoomed photograph showed some eight dark panel shaped equipment/objects attached to the flying object, which were hanging in a disorderly manner as if some parts are damaged," the report added. However, Indian authorities did not publish any report clarifying the mysterious balloon.
China sent similar balloons over the skies of Japan too
Although China on multiple occasions called it a "civilian balloon", several countries including Japan dismissed its claims. As the whole world witnessed how Chinese balloons floated for nearly two days over the skies of the US, Japan too had reported a similar balloon in 2020-- the time when China had been grappling with the deadly COVID-19 virus. According to media reports, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, an American single-seat, were sent to intercept a balloon off the coast of Hawaii in February last year. Though there was no concrete evidence, it was surprising that China used to send its so-called civilian balloons to other countries from January to February.
Besides, China not only uses its balloons to snoop on other countries by violating their airspace but it also engages its naval forces to execute its plan. Earlier in 2022, a Chinese spy ship intruded into the Indian Ocean with the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. China did this despite knowing the fact that New Delhi had prepared to test its premier ballistic missile Agni-V from Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
Also Read: Another Chinese 'spy balloon' spotted over Latin America; US downplays threat