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Russia air no-show

Bangalore, Feb. 7: An aerobatic team from Russia that was to perform at Aero India, India’s bi-annual air show of military aircraft in Bangalore, has not yet landed here apparently for want of a security clearance by the Union home ministry.

The “Russian Knights” comprising Sukhoi 27 and Sukhoi 30 aircraft landed at Hindon, the Indian Air Force base east of Delhi, on Wednesday afternoon, IAF sources said.

The team was scheduled to perform at the inauguration on Wednesday. The reasons for not giving the clearance till this evening are not known.

Home ministry sources said the clearance was in the hands of the air force. The denial of permission so far has the potential to snowball into a diplomatic row. Russian envoy Alexander Kadakin yesterday said the team had been held back at Moscow because of bad weather. “They will land in Bangalore by Thursday,” he had said.

Another account blamed a technical glitch for the delay.