Sunday, October 23, 2011

Indian chopper force to land,after violating airspace of Pakistan

An Indian military Cheetah helicopter belonging to the 666 Siachen Falcons Squadron that violated Pakistani airspace near the Line of Control in Kargil sector in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan at 1:00 p.m. (PST) was forced to land near Olding, Pakistan after being intercepted by Pakistan Air Force fighter jets. The helicopter has been impounded and all four Indian military personnel on board have been taken into custody by the Pakistan Army. The four military personnel include 1 pilot (a Colonel), 1 co-pilot (a Major), 1 Engineer (a Major) and a JCO. The helicopter and crew are now in Skardu.

Indian television reports cited army sources saying the airspace violation by the Cheetah model helicopter operated by the 666 Siachen Falcons was not intentional.

The reports said the helicopter entered Pakistan territory during “whiteout” conditions due to snow in the montainous region.

“It was due to bad weather that the Cheetah chopper strayed across the LoC. There was no deliberate attempt to intrude,” the Indian army said in a statement to Times Now television station, referring to the de facto border in the divided Kashmir region known as the Line of Control.

The military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas had told Reuters that ”the helicopter had came deep into our airspace. It was forced to land. Four Indian army officers have been taken into safe custody. They are safe.”
The two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947.
However, their relations have improved after they resumed a peace process this year which was suspended after co-ordinated attacks by Pakistan-based militants in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, that killed 166 people.

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