‘UFOs over India-China border could be lanterns’
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012, 13:57
  
Leh/New Delhi: The mystery over the unidentified luminous objects seen on the horizon over a lake in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir appears to have been cracked with security agencies believing it to be "Chinese lanterns".

Earlier last month, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) wrote to the Government about sighting of some Orange-Yellow luminous flying objects on the horizon over Pangong lake, located 160 km from Leh township.

The Leh-based 14-Corps was alerted by the ITBP which also reported sighting of the light-emitting body to its Udhampur-based Northern Command prompting an intensive monitoring of the flying object, official sources said.

Scientists from various organisations were brought to Himalayan township of Leh and a thorough study was conducted in consultation with experts of the Indian Air Force, whose radars were also unable to pick up any signal due to the flying of the unidentified objects on the horizon of the lake, 45 km of which is in India while the remaining 90 km lies in under control of China's People Liberation Army.

There was a suggestion that one of these flying objects needed to be shot down by the heat-seeking weaponry of the Indian Army, a proposal which was shot down as this region had last heard a gunshot only on October 29, 1962, during hostilities with China.

It was also thought that this move could trigger tension in the region, the sources said.

Intelligence agencies, with their sparse presence in this region, however, opined that this could be a psychological operation of the Chinese army and a possibility of launching "Chinese lanterns" during day break and in night was looked into by various astronomers, scientists and experts who have studied glaciers for years together, the sources said.

Experts from Ladakh-based Indian Astronomical Observatory and other scientists then studied the phenomenon of the luminous object and found that it disappeared in 12 to 18 minutes.

No crashing was also reported by the Border patrolling boat at the fringes of the lake and they reported that the light simply disappeared and there was no trace of it, the sources said.

The scientists and experts suspect that this could be one of the Chinese gimmicks to launch some lanterns which have a capability of attaining a height between 500 metres and 2000 metres and puzzle the Indian forces braving the chill and unfriendly terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Incidentally, the UK authorities had warned people not to fly the Chinese lanterns in 2010 within five mile off the airport and one mile of coastal line.

Many of the European countries have banned manufacturing of Chinese lanterns, which are traditionally constructed from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame, and contain a fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material.

The flame heats the air inside the lantern and makes it airborne as long as the flame stays after which it sinks to the ground.

The history of Lantern used in battle ground dates back to third century when Zhuge Liang used this technique to seek help from his friends in fighting the enemy. The lanterns or balloons were deployed for signalling and a spy blimp.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012, 13:57


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