Chinese choppers violate Indian airspace
In the second incident of its kind in four months, Chinese helicopters violated Indian airspace along the international border at Kaurik in the tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.chandigarh Updated: Mar 21, 2012 21:04 IST
In the second incident of its kind in four months, Chinese helicopters violated Indian airspace along the international border at Kaurik in the tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Kaurik, the last point on the strategic Hindustan-Tibet road, is 344 km from Himachal's capital town Shimla. Two Chinese helicopters were spotted in Indian territory by personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which is manning the border, around noon on March 16.
"We have sent a report about the incident to the union ministry of home affairs (MHA)," deputy inspector general, ITBP, PS Papta told Hindustan Times. The helicopters reportedly entered 7km inside Indian territory before flying back more than 15 minutes later.
An army official said, "There are two possibilities: one, the pilots lost their way and inadvertently entered Indian airspace; two, the helicopters were doing a recce of the area."
About four months ago, villagers in the area had spotted two Chinese jet fighters. That incident had also been reported to the MHA. Sources told HT that in the absence of a radar, it was difficult to detect aerial activity in the region.
The Kinnaur administration has denied knowledge of the fresh incident. "We are not aware of any airspace violation in our area," said additional district magistrate (Pooh) Sanjeev Sharma. State principal secretary, home, PC Dhiman refused to comment on the matter.
There have been reports of China strengthening military infrastructure along border areas close to Shipki, the main trading centre. Shigastay in China-controlled Tibetan autonomous region is the airbase closest to the Indian border.
The Shigastay airport, used for army as well as civilian flights, is nearly 100km from Kaurik in Kinnaur district. The Himachal government has repeatedly requested the Centre to build a rail link to connect Manali to Leh to meet strategic needs.