India admits downing its own helicopter in Kashmir, killing six

India admits downing its own helicopter in Kashmir, killing six
The Indian Air Force has admitted it shot down one of its own aircraft in February, causing the deaths of six people on board.
2 min read
04 October, 2019
India took the responsibility amidst the worst tensions in Kashmir for years [Getty]
The Indian Air Force has admitted responsibility for shooting down its own helicopter, killing six people on board, during a conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir in February.

"A court of inquiry was completed and it was our mistake that our missile hit our chopper," said the head of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Bhadauria.

"We will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in the future," he told reporters.

The helicopter crashed on February 27 as the conflict between India and Pakistan reached its peak, becoming their most serious military conflict over the region of Kashmir in years. 

At the time of the crash, the Indian military failed to explain the mishap, and cited unnamed sources as saying it was friendly fire, reported AFP

The day before, an Inidan aircraft had been instructed to bomb a what New Delhi labelled a “terror camp” used by the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in the Balakot area of Pakistan.

In retaliation, Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed a suicide bombing that killed 40 Indian troops on February 14.

Confusion still surrounds how many other aircraft were shot down, with Pakistan saying it downed two Indian fighter jets but India saying it lost only one.

India meanwhile said it shot down an Pakistani F-16 - an assertion repeated by Bhadauria on Friday - but Pakistan denied this at the time.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947 and has been the spark of two wars and several clashes. China also claims a part of the Himalayan region.

Tensions have spiked again since India revoked the autonomy of the part of Kashmir that it controls on August 5.