IAF chief says “Big Mistake” to shoot down own chopper in J&K

Straight Line News Network

New Delhi, Oct 4: Chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Friday described the IAF (Indian Air Force) shooting down its helicopter in Kashmir on February 27  as a “big mistake” in a press conference and said punitive action is being taken against the guilty.

Ahead of the Air Chief’s press conference, the IAF showed video clips of the Balakot strikes.

Six IAF personnel and a civilian were killed in the incident, which took place on a day Indian and Pakistani fighter planes exchanged fire along the Line of Control. Action is being taken against two officers.

“It was a big mistake on our part. We accept it,” the Air Chief said, adding that a Court of inquiry had completed its sittings last week. “Our missile hit (the helicopter). This has been established. Administrative action and disciplinary action is being taken. Necessary steps are being taken so such incidents don’t repeat,” Chief said.

The Mi17 V5 chopper was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar a day after IAF fighters went into Pakistani territory and bombed a terror training facility in Balakot. A court of inquiry found that the chopper was brought down by friendly fire from the Spyder air defence missile system at the Srinagar airbase. The officers who handled the air defence system mistook the helicopter for an incoming missile, it was found. The helicopter crashed 10 minutes after take-off. Visuals showed the wreckage of the chopper in flames and a large number of villagers gathered around it.

The Mi-17 chopper broke into two and caught fire immediately. The incident took place in the backdrop of heavy shelling and firing from across the border after the Balakot strike, which was carried out by India days after the terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 soldiers were killed.