Pakistan helicopter enters Indian airspace

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Pakistan helicopter enters Indian airspace

Readers are likely to have viewed video footage on Sunday night of a civilian Pakistani helicopter intruding on Indian airspace and being fired upon with small arms by troops in the Gulpur segment of the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir. That is an area in which I served 34 years ago and know like the back of my hand. I found insufficient informed commentary on the incident both on television and in the print media on Monday morning, and understandably so, because few people are fully aware of the rules of engagement at the LoC or experienced enough to comment on the incident.

Except for hardcore aviators of the Indian Air Force and Army Aviation officers, few have been very deeply involved in the issues of flying in the vicinity of the LoC, a hazardous activity at most times. However, I have to reiterate one of my oft-repeated lines here — and one I use too often for comfort — that there can be no black and white situations at the LoC; everything there is a guideline to be used with discretion based on judgment of the situation. There are life and death involved in these situations and often, potential triggers for escalation of none-too-stable an environment and we cannot treat them casually.

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