Chinese officials have honoured an Indian man who survived the 1955 mid-air bombing of an Air India plane apparently aimed at killing then-premier Zhou Enlai . Former flight engineer A.S. Karnik, 82, received a cheque for 50,000 rupees ($8,800) last week from Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi . The Chinese embassy has also announced plans to hold a public reception for Mr Karnik in Pune, Maharashtra, where the retired Air India employee now lives. 'I am deeply moved by your heroic deeds and extraordinary experience,' Mr Sun wrote to Mr Karnik. Mr Karnik approached the Chinese embassy in September last year after the Indian government failed to pay him the monthly allowance it promised for his bravery in 1972. 'Soon after I wrote to the Chinese embassy, a senior diplomat contacted me to check details and authenticate my claims,' he said. 'This recognition gives me a lot of joy in the autumn of my life.' Mr Karnik says he will use the money to pay for his brother-in-law's cancer treatment. Zhou was scheduled to fly to Jakarta from Hong Kong on April 11, 1955, on board the Kashmir Princess, chartered by the Chinese government, to attend the first Non-Aligned Movement summit at Bandung. However, he was reportedly tipped off about plans by Taiwanese subversives to blow up the plane. The plane took off from Hong Kong's Kai Tak airport without Zhou but carrying 16 passengers, mainly journalists from Xinhua and Eastern Europe, along with a three-member crew. A bomb detonated at about 5,500 metres, killing all passengers, but Mr Karnik, pilot A. Dikshit and navigator R. Pathak had a miraculous escape. The trio swam for 12 hours in the South China Sea before they were rescued by fishermen. A British warship then took then safely to Singapore. In April 2004, Beijing declassified diplomatic files from 1949 to 1955 and, for the first time, documents on the mysterious assassination bid were made public. According to the diplomatic records, the Kashmir Princess was downed by a time bomb, planted in its wheel bay by the Taiwanese secret service to assassinate Zhou. Apparently, Hong Kong-based Kuomintang agents played a key role in the operation. Some researchers have tried to pin the blame on the CIA and British intelligence agents who wanted to stop Zhou attending the conference. The man who reportedly planted the bomb, Chou Chu, an airport employee whose job was to service aircraft, managed to escape to Taipei before Hong Kong police could catch him.