The helicopter came into Indian airspace just after noon Sunday. Army PRO in Jammu says air sentries ‘engaged’ it with small arms.
New Delhi: A Pakistani helicopter violated Indian airspace along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir Sunday, but turned back after it was “engaged by air sentries”, the Army said.
Officials said a white helicopter crossed into the Indian airspace in the Gulpur sector and hovered there for some time before turning back. According to The Hindustan Times, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the ‘prime minister’ of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, was travelling in this chopper to participate in a condolence meeting. Pakistani media later reported that he had landed safely.
The Army’s Jammu-based public relations officer Lt Col. Devender Anand said the helicopter violated Indian airspace around 12:10 pm. Air sentries at forward locations had engaged it with small arms, he said, adding that it was most likely a civilian chopper and was flying very high. Reports suggested no anti-aircraft guns were used.
Different reports suggest that the helicopter came between 250 metres to 700 metres inside Indian airspace.
According to NDTV, India and Pakistan both recognise norms that state helicopters are not supposed to come within one kilometre of the LoC, while for fixed-wing aircraft, the limit is 10 km.
The same report quoted Major General Ashwani Siwach (retd) as saying: “It needs to be seen how deep the helicopter came inside Indian territory and how long it was in Indian airpace… Then only one could make out what could be the aim of this intrusion, is it recce, is it surveillance.”
He added that it could’ve been inadvertent too, since small helicopters are navigated manually.
News agency IANS has released a 30-second video of the chopper flying over Indian airspace.
(With inputs from PTI)