THE Indian Air Force has released images of an unidentified flying object (UFO) shot down by a fighter jet.
The balloon-like white object was intercepted by an Su-30 MKI fighter jet after it triggered a radar alert flying over Barmer, Rajistan, near the border with Pakistan, on Tuesday, as reported by Express.co.uk.
Now, officials are convinced it came across the border from Pakistan, and was not an extraterrestrial UFO as some alien investigators had suspected.
Government sources have told Indian media it was suspected it may contain a bomb, but no such device was found in the debris.
One theory is it was "a possible move by the neighbour to test India’s response" to an unexpected aircraft.
It has emerged the three-metre wide balloon appeared between 10.30am and 11am as the 67th annual Republic Day parade was happening in New Delhi.
Rounds fired at the balloon were said to be from the fighter’s 30mm GSh-301 auto cannon.
According to a Government source, the balloon had "Happy Birthday" printed on it - in an apparent reference to the anniversary.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said: "Our radars picked up a shiny flying object entering Indian airspace.
"A fighter jet was quickly scrambled which intercepted it and shot it down.”
He would give no further details.
An IAF spokesperson said on Wednesday: “Due to heightened security alert, the balloon was shot down as it could have been carrying unknown payload.
"However, on the analysis of the debris it was established there was no dangerous payload.”
Rajasthan police said residents of Gugdi village, about 20km from Balotra town near Kishor Singh Ki Dhani area, had first reported hearing an “explosion”, followed by similar reports from Panawada village in Baitu area.
Police were sent to both areas.
Five solid metal triangles recover among the wreckage have added to the mystery.
Local speculators suggest it could have been just a meteorological weather balloon from India or Pakistan.