Two Chinese Army choppers in Indian airspace, IAF probing matter

Official sources said the choppers, which returned to the Chinese side after about five minutes, could have carried out aerial photography of Indian ground troops.

By: PTI | New Delhi | Updated: June 4, 2017 3:49 pm
Chinese Choppers, Indian airspace, Indian Air force probe, Chinese choppers in India, Indian express news, India news The Chienese choppers were identified as the Zhiba series of attack helicopters.

Two helicopters of the People’s Liberation Army of China hovered over Chamoli district in Uttarakhand Saturday, triggering concern in India’s security establishment about the PLA’s fourth such incursion into Indian airspace since March this year. Official sources said the choppers, which returned to the Chinese side after about five minutes, could have carried out aerial photography of Indian ground troops during what was possibly a reconnaissance mission. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is probing the incident, an IAF source said.

The choppers were identified as the Zhiba series of attack helicopters. On previous occasions, Chinese helicopters had entered 4.5 kilometres into Indian territory, an area that China claims as its own and recognises as Wu-Je. State and army officials have been reviewing the security along the 350-kilometre border with Tibet after China’s incursions into these areas, generally referred as the middle sector. Barahoti is one of three border posts in the sector, comprising Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where ITBP jawans are not allowed to carry weapons and are in civilian clothes under a unilateral decision taken by the Central government in June 2000.

In 1958, India and China listed Barahoti, an 80-sq-km sloping pasture, as a disputed area where neither side would send their troops. In the 1962 India-China war, the PLA did not enter the 545-km middle sector, focusing on the Western (Ladakh) and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors. However, after the 1962 war, ITBP jawans patrolled the area with weapons in a non-combative manner, under which the barrel of the gun is positioned downward.

During prolonged negotiations on resolving border disputes, the Indian side had unilaterally decided in June 2000 that ITBP troops would not be carrying arms to three posts — Barahoti, Kauril and Shipki in Himachal Pradesh. Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, termed these transgression as “testing the nerves” of India and said “after violating the Line of Actual Control in the Western and Eastern sectors, Chinese troops now seem to be focusing on the middle sector. It’s a cause of worry for us”.

The professor said after the June 2000 informal agreement, India did abide by all conditions under the assumption that China would yield on the western or eastern sectors. “But that didn’t happen. Today the PAPF (People’s Armed Paramilitary Force) and PLA are enforcing China’s claims there,” he said.

Kondapalli referred to regional equations giving a China a boost. He recalled that Nepal and India had differences on the source of the Mahakali river and in the background of China’s forays in Nepal as well as the latter joining the China-led One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, and said, “There have been some moves by the PLA to test us”. He said there had also been “a concerted effort” by the PLA “to test India” against the backdrop of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a collection of infrastructure projects.

“So the latest intrusion is to test our nerves,” he said. He even said China could deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in this region in “large numbers” to monitor Indian territory. “So the helicopter incident is a precursor,” he said. “A recce mission?” Security officials here felt that ahead of its transgression in the Barahoti area, the PLA could have conducted a reconnaissance mission using high class aircraft with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which provides broad-area imaging at high resolutions.

The officials said the PLA’s ‘TupolovTu 153M’ aircraft had carried out two or three reconnaissance missions last year in the middle sector. They said there was a possibility that the same aircraft, designed by Chinese companies on the basis of technology obtained from the former Soviet Union, could have been used this year, too.

The aircraft flies at an altitude of above 40,000 feet and can go up to 60,000 feet to avoid detection by radars and can take photographs and cyber and communication signatures from that height. SAR enables the taking of high-resolution pictures even in inclement weather or in the dark.

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  1. V
    vjkumar
    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:01 pm
    It is no wonder the chinese thieves are not worried about India's Armed Forces. The chinese take India for granted bcoz India is always caught with the pants down or in their slumber land. Indian Army and Air Force should have sprint to action so the chinese crooks know their testing is well responded by the Indian Armed Forces.
    Reply
    1. S
      Subramanian N
      Jun 4, 2017 at 8:43 pm
      Why our IAF did not send jets to eject them or ground them?
      Reply
      1. K
        Kamal Pasha
        Jun 4, 2017 at 8:10 pm
        What a joke. India has made herself the laughing stock of the world with these silly news against China or stan every now and then.
        Reply
        1. K
          Kumar
          Jun 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm
          Corruption in IAF and defense should be checked. How is that IAF planes crash so often when just taking off but not chasing the intruders away? can't the pilots be trained very well. Even if using old equipment, the plane should be well checked and repaired before flying.
          Reply
          1. F
            Femi.
            Jun 5, 2017 at 11:18 am
            Indian plan didn't crash, it was shot down by the Chinese and your Indians did next to nothing. The cons of being a neighbor to a super-power.
            Reply
          2. D
            Dilip Kumar Bordoloi
            Jun 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm
            So PLA helicopters came in and returned on their own. In 1962 too they came in and returned on their own. Let it be so that we praise our relationship with China that not a single bullet was fired between Indian troops and PLA since last 40 years.
            Reply
            1. M
              muzafar
              Jun 4, 2017 at 4:43 pm
              india need to show some spine which it tries with Pak, SL, Ban etc.
              Reply
              1. L
                l s
                Jun 4, 2017 at 4:24 pm
                Shame. Why were Indian air force jets not scrambled to intercept the helicopters. This clearly shows the soft and wrong at ude of our military strategy. Now encouraged, more and more air space violations will take place. Wrong signals being sent not only to our air force personnel, but also to others, that India will stay quiet even if you they go upto the Taj Mahal.
                Reply
                1. M
                  Mehemud Alam
                  Jun 4, 2017 at 4:17 pm
                  cowered Indian Soldiers do not have anything to say on Chinese. Indian solders and politicians concentrate only on Indian Muslims, Gau mata and stan . They Underestimate stan capability and that is the biggest mistake Indian cowered soldiers are making .
                  Reply
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