Chinese helicopters violate Indian airspace; IAF issues inquiry

New Delhi: It has come to the fore that two Chinese army helicopters violated the Indian airspace over the district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand and hovered there for a few minutes. Indian Air Force has taken a serious note of the matter and has ordered for further investigations. Currently, India has undertaken massive infrastructural projects near the Indo-China border. Last week, the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had called for a special meeting of the states located along the Indo-China borderline. The states came up with issues regarding security of the regions adjacent to the Indo-China border. In addition, the Home Minister also asked the soldiers of ‘Indo-Tibetan Border Police’ (ITBP) to be extremely vigilant regarding infiltration from China.

The Indo-Chinese border is 3488 km long. China has been claiming its rights over the territory of Arunachal Pradesh, alongwith some part of Ladakh. Besides this, China also considers Barahoti area in the district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand, as controversial. The 80 sq km piece of land comes under the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. This region is being called by China as ‘Wu-Je’.

On Saturday, two Chinese copters had violated the airspace in Barahoti region. The Chinese copters had infiltrated into the Indian airspace by about 4.5 kms and they hovered over area for nearly five minutes.

This is not the first time that the territory of Barahoti in Chamoli was intruded by China. In 2014, the Chinese copters had violated the territory of Barahoti. Similarly, in July last year, Chinese soldiers had infiltrated in the district of Chamoli and erected their tents. Violation of the Indian airspace in this region by the Chinese planes and helicopters, has become a regular feature. Following such events, China comes up with an excuse of territorial boundaries being unclear.

On Saturday, the cattle-rearers and the shepherds, who had brought their cattle and sheep for grazing in this area, witnessed two Chinese copters intruding the Indian airspace and reported the matter immediately to the officers. It was ascertained that violation of airspace had indeed taken place. The Indian Air Force has also ordered for further investigations into the matter. The two fighter copters that violated the airspace, belonged to ‘Zhiba’ series copters. In recent times, the relations between China and India have considerably strained over various issues. Moreover, in the last three months, four cases of violation of Indian airspace by the Chinese copters, have come to the fore.

India has undertaken several projects in the regions adjacent to the Indo-China border. This includes the Railways and the Road development projects. India is constructing ’All-weather roads’ that will ensure free flow of the traffic under any weather condition in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. China has, time and again raised objections against India’s developmental projects. However, notwithstanding these objections, India is speedily working on the development of the infrastructure in this region. Recently, the Indian Prime Minister had inaugurated the longest bridge in the country that cuts down the distance between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. After this, China had issued a warning to India regarding the same. Moreover, an Indian fighter plane Sukhoi had crashed near the Indo-China borders. Although the remains of the crashed airplane have been found, the cause of the mishap is still unknown.

Analysts state that China’s infiltration in Chamoli district was an attempt to monitor the development projects undertaken by India in this border region. It is believed that China has deployed a large number of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) near the Indo-China border for surveillance. At the same time, experts claim that China is also maintaining a vigilant eye on India’s actions by means of latest technology.