This marked the first time the UAE was found to have transported weapons
to China. Abu Dhabi has been regarded as a major ally of Pakistan, a leading
defense client of Beijing.
"The operator had written that they are not carrying arms and
ammunition," Indian Air Force spokesman Wing Cmdr. Mahesh Upasani said.
Upasani, in an interview with Indian television, did not identify the
weapons and ammunition aboard the UAE aircraft. He said the 10-member UAE
Air Force crew had been taken for questioning and the plane was still being
held on Sept. 9.
The UAE has acknowledged that its military transport was stopped in
Calcutta. But a UAE Foreign Ministry statement on late Sept. 7 did not cite
the finding of weapons along the air force plane.
"We reaffirm the UAE respect for Indian sovereignty," the UAE Foreign
Ministry said in a statement.
India and Pakistan have been wooing the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation
Council states with military cooperation and arms sales. Pakistan has been
staging regular military exercises with several GCC states, including Qatar,
Saudi Arabia and the UAE.