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    An Indian army soldier walks past the wreckage of an Indian helicopter after it crashed in Budgam area, outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Feb.27, 2019

    Top Officer at Indian Air Base That Downed Own Mi-17 Chopper Reassigned – Report

    © AP Photo / Mukhtar Khan
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    Earlier, following a wave of media reports that Indian air defences had shot down a friendly helicopter, New Delhi launched an investigation into the incident to determine whether it was due to an error by military personnel.

    An air force officer commanding the Indian Srinagar Air Base in Jammu and Kashmir was reassigned to a different location amid an ongoing investigation into reports that the base's air defences downed an Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-17 helicopter in a friendly fire incident on 27 February, The Indian Express reported, citing anonymous sources.

    The sources didn't specify where the officer was transferred to or whether his reassignment was related to the reported downing of a friendly helicopter in the Budgam area. The newspaper's sources stressed, however, that the move took place "a couple of weeks ago".

    India is currently investigating the cause of the Mi-17's downing and whether it was the result of an error by military personnel at the air base or in the helicopter. The investigative committee declined to specify the date when the probe will be concluded, but media reports claim that preliminary findings indicate that the Mi-17 was flying with the Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) system in standby mode and that air traffic control had failed to direct the aircraft through a blind spot in the air defences as it was supposed to.

    Earlier, reports suggested that the helicopter was downed because it was flying near an area where the IAF and Pakistani Air Forces (PAF) were engaged in a dogfight.

    The tensions between India and Pakistan further escalated after the IAF conducted an airstrike on alleged positions of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group in Pakistan. The Pakistani Air Force responded by launching a counter-attack and downing at least one IAF jet and capturing the pilot at the end of February 2019. Islamabad released the pilot in March, but the tensions continued, resulting in skirmishes on the Line of Control (LoC).


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    investigation, friendly fire, Mi-17, India
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