Choppers from China 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. Gaurav Bisht reports.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2012 22:59 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times
Gaurav Bisht,Shimla,Kinnaur district

In second of its kind incident in four months, two Chinese helicopters reportedly violated Indian air space along the international border in Kaurik sector in tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.

Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), that guards the international border, has sent a report of the incident to ministry of home affairs. "Two Chinese helicopters flew into India side report has been sent to ministry of home affairs (MHA)", ITBP deputy inspector general PS Papta told Hindustan Times.

Chinese helicopters were reportedly spotted in the Indian territory on March 16, 2012. The ITBP men patrolling their areas spotted the helicopters with help of binoculars. However, the military and the Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel could not trace any tale signs left by the Chinese helicopters.

Two Chinese helicopters have been seen flying over Kaurik last point on Hindustan-Tibet Road. The helicopters had entered seven kilometers inside Indian boundary before they flew back.

Chinese helicopters hovered over Indian Territory for more than 15 minutes. "It is for sure that the helicopters came into Indian Territory for two reasons. One could be that pilots must have lost their way and unknowing crossed into the Indian side. Other possibility is helicopters deliberately crossed into Indian Territory to recce the area," said an army official.

This is second incident of air space violation. First incident of air space violation came in to light four months back. Local villagers had spotted two Chinese jet fighters flying over their village. The incident of air space violation at that time too had been reported to ministry of home affairs.

Local administration in Kinnaur denied having any knowledge about it. "We are not aware of any air space violation in our area", additional district magistrate (Pooh) Sanjeev Sharma said.

Shigastay, in China, controlled Tibetan autonomous Region is the closest air base to Indian border. Airport in Shigastay is being dually used for army and civilian flights is nearly 100 kilometers away from Kaurik in Kinnaur.

There have been reports that Chinese have strengthened the military infrastructure along the border areas close to Shipki - main trading centers. Himachal Pradesh government has repeatedly been pleading to the Centre to construct a rail link to connect via Manali to Leh to cover the strategic needs.

First Published: Mar 21, 2012 19:02 IST