Chopper That Violated Airspace Had Pak-Occupied Kashmir Official: Reports

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The Indian Army had targeted the helicopter with small firearms around Sunday noon.


The helicopter that breached Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch on Sunday was carrying the top official of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Pakistani media reports said. The Indian Army had targeted the helicopter with small firearms for entering the country's airspace around noon today.

According to Pakistani media channel Aaj News, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader, the so-called "Prime Minister" of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was preparing to land in PoK's Tarori area when the incident occurred. However, Mr Khan's chopper managed to land safely.

In a video apparently shot by a witness, a white Pakistani helicopter was seen flying high the side of a Poonch hill amid sounds of constant gunfire — an indication that the army was trying to shoot it down.

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The Pakistani helicopter was first spotted in Indian airspace at 12:13 pm, sources said.

According to norms recognised by both India and Pakistan, helicopters are not supposed to come within one kilometre of the Line of Control or LoC, and fixed-wing aircraft within 10 km. In February, a Pakistani helicopter was seen flying 300 metres from the LoC.

"Pakistan is adopting an aggressive posture… This violation of airspace is a serious matter," Major General Ashwani Siwach (retired) told NDTV over the phone. "It needs to be seen how deep the helicopter came inside Indian territory and how long it was in Indian airspace… then only one could make out what could be the aim of this intrusion, is it recce, is it surveillance."

However, Major General Siwach conceded that the aircraft may have crossed the LoC inadvertently. "Due to navigation problem a helicopter pilot can come by mistake," Major General Ashwani added. "As far as small helicopters are concerned, navigation is done manually. At times they make use of landmarks on the ground."

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