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Centre ignoring Chinese violation of Indian airspace: Dhumal

Chinese helicopters spotted in border near Himachal; Dhumal raises issue with Prime Minister.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: March 22, 2012 6:10 pm

The Himachal Pradesh government today confirmed reports about Chinese helicopters violating Indian airspace along the international border near high-altitude Kaurik and Lapcha areas.

Chinese helicopters were spotted over the Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts a few days ago.

Alarmed over the incident – second in past two months,Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the Centre was sounded about airspace violations by two Chinese helicopters,which were spotted on March 16 by the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel and also locals. The choppers entered airspace over Lahaul-Spiti district and stayed for almost 10 to 12 minutes.

Dhumal,who spoke in the state Assembly over the issue slammed the Centre for ignoring warning signals on the issue.

“I have raised the issue with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and also at other levels about China’s growing activities,including building airfields and extending railway lines in the Tibet region. It’s quite regrettable that the government hasn’t given due credence to these warnings,,” he said.

Dhumal said: “China has been complained and objected to anything being done by India on the border. It opposed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh,movements of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama within India and the construction of a road at Leh. But China’s own activities have started creating serious problems.”

“We could not perceive the Chinese threat in 1962 as we were fascinated by the ‘Hindi Chini,Bhai Bhai’ bonhomie. China is strengthening its borders now and we must take it seriously,” the chief minister said.

Dhumal said Indian Air Force officers had recently met him and briefed him about Chinese activity on Himachal Pradesh border. ”The government has allocated land to the Indian Air Force to instal a radar for monitoring the airspace. We will do if mor eis needed. But the Centre should act now and sanction the Manali-Leh railway line for which I have lobbied since 2009,” Dhumal said.

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