Chinese army dismisses New Delhi’s concerns over it violating Indian air space
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Chinese army dismisses New Delhi’s concerns over it violating Indian air space

A suspected Chinese helicopter violated Indian airspace by hovering over Uttarakhand’s Chamoli area close to Sino-India border on Sunday.

world Updated: Jun 10, 2017 15:18 IST
Soldiers of People’s Liberation Army during a training session for a military parade in Beijing. (HT File Photo)

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Tuesday dismissed New Delhi’s concerns over its military helicopters violating the Indian air space, hours after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said the incident would be raised with Chinese authorities.

China on Monday defended its military helicopters hovering over the Barahoti region in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand over the weekend, saying it has a territorial dispute in the eastern section of the frontier.

Official sources in New Delhi said the two Zhiba attack helicopters, which returned to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) after about five minutes, could have carried out an aerial photography of Indian troops during a possible reconnaissance mission. The Indian Air Force is probing the incident.

A brief PLA statement said reports from India were wrong about the incursion.

“The Chinese military was conducting routine training activities on the Chinese side of the LAC. The Indian print (media) reports do not match the facts,” the statement said in Chinese.

The PLA denial comes after Swaraj emphatically said on Monday the matter would be raised with competent Chinese authorities.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Monday said: “In principle, China and India have territorial disputes in the eastern section of the China-India border.”

She had also indicated the helicopters were on the Chinese side of the LAC.

“Chinese military carry out regular patrols in the relevant areas. We hope that the two sides will make joint efforts to maintain tranquillity and peace of the border area,” she said.

On previous occasions, Chinese helicopters entered 4.5km into Indian territory, an area that China claims as its own and recognises as Wu-Je.

Barahoti is one of three border posts in the sector, comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops are not allowed to carry weapons and are in civilian clothes under a unilateral decision made by the central government in June 2000.

In 1958, India and China listed Barahoti, an 80 sq km sloping pasture, as a disputed area where neither side would send troops. During the 1962 India-China war, PLA did not enter the 545-km middle sector, focussing on the western (Ladakh) and eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors.

First Published: Jun 06, 2017 11:16 IST