The Indian Air Force (IAF) also halted flight operations at state capital Imphal’s Bir Tikendrajit International Airport for several hours.
The object “was visible with bare eyes”, an unnamed official from one of India’s federal police agencies reportedly said.
“IAF activated its Air Defence response mechanism based on visual inputs from Imphal airport,” said a post on X by the IAF. “The small object was not seen thereafter.”
Indian authorities have not revealed specific details of their investigation of the UFO sighting.
A video on social media showed a small white dot on the skyline near the airport. The Independent could not verify the authenticity of the video.
#BREAKING: Today, air-defence readiness of #India was examined by a foreign country that had a luminious object (UFO) hovering over Imphal Airport near Myanmar. To intercept the UFO, two Rafale EHs of the #IndianAirForce's 101sq from Hashimara AFS, Jalpaguiri were scrambled. pic.twitter.com/fqkkneQtIs
— Babak Taghvaee - The Crisis Watch (@BabakTaghvaee1) November 20, 2023
Rafale fighter jets were dispatched to investigate the object from the Hashimara airbase in the eastern state of West Bengal.
“Soon after information about the UFO near the Imphal airport was received, a Rafale fighter aircraft from a nearby airbase was scrambled to go and search for the UFO,” a defence official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The jet returned and another one was later sent to investigate.
Reports said the second fighter jet also returned without finding any evidence of a UFO.
The fighter jets were equipped with advanced sensors and carried out low-level flying over the suspected area near the airport, but didn’t find anything suspicious.
“The UFO was visible with bare eyes moving westwards of the airfield [at the Imphal airport] till 4 pm,” an official from India’s Central Industrial Security Force was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Investigation operations took several hours and flights at the Imphal airport resumed operations only after 5.30pm on Sunday, after authorities received clearance from the IAF.
Two flights were diverted from the airport and three departing flights were delayed before operations were allowed to resume.