- Chopper entered Indian airspace in Poonch around noon today
- It flew back to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after it was targeted
- Helicopters are not supposed to come within one kilometer of LoC
A Pakistani helicopter was spotted flying in Indian airspace at Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch today, following which the army tried to shoot it down, people with direct knowledge of the matter 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 a video, apparently shot by a witness, the white Pakistani helicopter is seen flying high near the side of a hill in Poonch. The sound of constant gunfire can be heard, indicating the army tried to shoot it down.
The Pakistani helicopter, likely to be a civil aircraft, was first spotted in Indian airspace at 12:13 pm, sources said. The helicopter flew back to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK moments after it was targeted by the army with small arms fire. No large-calibre anti-aircraft weapon was used.
In February, a Pakistani helicopter was seen flying 300 metres from the LoC. Today's incident, however, is being seen as an airspace violation unlike the previous incident. It is not clear whether the helicopter came to Indian airspace by mistake or on purpose.
"Pakistan is adopting an aggressive posture... This violation of airspace is a serious matter," Major General Ashwani Siwach (retired) told NDTV on phone. "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 said.
However, sometimes, aircraft could cross 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."