Chopper with PoK official breaches Indian air space, Army fires warning shots

A helicopter carrying a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) official violated the Indian airspace after it entered J&K’s Poonch sector around noon on Sunday. According to the reports, the Indian Army troops soon fired towards the helicopter using small arms but the helicopter returned undamaged after about a minute.

According to Indian Express, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan claimed that he was present inside the helicopter at that time, along with PoK Tourism Minister Mushtaq Minhas, the PM’s personal security officer and the province’s Education Minister Ifthikar Gilani.

“We had no idea that we had breached (the airspace agreement), nor did we know that we were being fired at. When we landed at our destination, we learned that there was firing on our chopper from the Indian side,” Minhas said.

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Reportedly, the PoK Prime Minister was travelling to a place called Samahni to condole the death of his brother Chaudhry Abdul Aziz. “It’s a seven-hour journey by road, so we decided that it would be best to go by helicopter,” said Minhas.

According to the existing rules between both the countries, helicopters are not allowed to enter each other’s airspace within a kilometre of the LoC and fixed-wing aircraft within 10 kilometres of the LoC. The civilian helicopter carrying PoK Prime Minister travelled over the Karmara area in the Sarla battalion sector around 12.13 pm and the Army reacted by firing using small arms.

Lt Colonel Devender Anand, spokesperson of the Defence Ministry said that the helicopter breached the agreement by 700m. “Army troops along the LoC fired at it using small arms. The chopper returned without any damage,” he said. He further added that it could be a civilian aircraft and the air sentries at the forward location engaged it with small arms.

This incident comes after the recent cancellation of proposed talks between India and Pakistan after India found out the details of Pakistan’s direct involvement in the killing of SPOs in Kashmir. Recently, Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs had also walked out of a SAARC meeting which was also attended by her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, mid-way, after issuing a strong call to end the ecosystem of terrorism.

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