Chinese choppers enter Indian air space at Barahoti

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Arun Pratap Singh



Two Chinese choppers were seen at the international border in district Chamoli on Sunday morning. Eye-witnesses claim that these choppers had intruded into Indian air-space, they roamed around for a while and then went back into their own territory. The incident has pushed the Indian defence personnel posted along the border on a high alert.

Sources claim that the Defence Ministry, the Union Home Ministry as well as the state home department of Uttarakhand have been alerted in this respect.  Though, this is not the first such incident in recent times, such violations by the Chinese defence are always a cause of serious concern in the long run since the Chinese never indulge in violations without a purpose or inadvertently.

According to the Indian intelligence sources, Chinese follow a strictly a very long term foreign, security and defence policy and all the so called inadvertent follies on part of Chinese Army are actually integral part of their long term defence and home department strategies.

Sources claimed that the two Chinese choppers were seen hovering in Indian airspace over Barahoti in Chamoli district for about 3 minutes before they flew back into their own space. Following reports of Chinese intrusion, the locals informed the revenue police which in turn informed the ITBP. A team of ITBP officers and jawans reached the spot for an inspection of the spot and reporting of the incident to the higher authorities.

Barahoti area of district Chamoli is a huge grazing land and is used by Indian shepherds for grazing their cattle and other animals particularly in the summer months, when they camp here. However this area is considered to be very sensitive from a strategic and security point of view. There have been many but sporadic incidents of border violation by the Chinese army but mostly these have been intrusions by the Army not violations of airspace. On several occasions, Chinese armymen had to be softly but persistently told to go back into their own territory by senior ITBP and Indian Army officers.

Last time when a Chinese plane was seen here was in 2014. Land intrusions have been more common though. Last year, Chinese Armymen had intruded the Barahoti border and had even destroyed some fodder crops and grains kept there for consumption of the cattle and the shepherds respectively.

Intelligence sources recommend regular posting of army and ITBP personnel here in view of such intrusions and also recommend posting of regular police in district Chamoli which is currently administered by the Revenue Police.