Indian security has been breached in the sensitive Siachen Glacier-Aksai Chin-Ladakh-Kargil sector as Pakistan Army downloaded the GPS coordinates of all helipads from the army helicopter that strayed across the Line of Control (LoC) into Skardu region on Sunday morning. The Indian Cheetah helicopter along with the crew was allowed to return by Pakistan government later in the day.
The Nemu, Leh-based 14 Corps is responsible for defence of Kargil-Leh, Siachen Glacier and Line of Actual Control (LAC) with Tibet.
"We are treating the incident with utmost concern as coordinates of all helipads in the 14 Corps including Siachen Glacier and LAC are now with Pakistan army with code signs and nicknames," said a senior official.
Senior officials said the Indian crew was being questioned as the Cheetah was fitted with the GPS and there was no reason for the machine to stray into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
To add insult to injury, the Pakistan artillery helipad (with number 90), on which the Cheetah landed in the Marol area just across the LoC in Kargil sector was not known to the Indian Army. The Pakistan army allowed the chopper to return to Kargil after refuelling the machine and giving directions to pilots.
While Pakistan now says its fighter jet forced the Indian helicopter to land across the LoC, prima facie evidence reveals that the Indian pilot didn’t know where he had landed the helicopter due to bad weather conditions nor the Pakistan army had any clue about the landing.
Sources said 14 Corps commander Lt Gen Ravi Dastane was visiting an Indian position on Sunday morning ahead of Kargil when his advanced light helicopter (ALH) helicopter developed a snag and was grounded.
While another machine landed and flew Dastane to Srinagar, the Cheetah with a maintenance engineer was flown to the post to bring back the ALH after repairs.
It was during this maintenance mission that the Cheetah flew into bad weather and without the pilot realising it crossed the LoC into Pakistan territory of Marol, just across the Kargil town.