Violating Indian airspace, two Chinese helicopters were seen hovering over the Barahoti region in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on June 3. Speaking to the Indian Express, the Superintendent of Police Tripti Bhatt said, “The helicopters entered the Barahoti region at around 9.15 am and hovered over [Indian territory] for three minutes.”
PTI quoted official sources as saying that the choppers, which later returned to the Chinese side, could have carried out aerial photography of Indian ground troops. The officials also informed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is probing the incident- the choppers were identified as Zhiba series of attack helicopters.
Bhatt refused to provide any further details about the incident citing security season but said that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is looking into the matter and is keeping a close watch on the situation. An official note from the Chamoli police department stated, “Two helicopters were seen near the Sino-Indian border, near Barahoti, but no information was received on any objectionable activities being carried out in the area.” The report also added that the situation at Barahoti was normal.
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The issue of Chinese troops being active along the Uttarakhand border was raised last year too when the then CM Harish Rawat made a statement about the People’s Liberation Army having transgressed the Barahoti area, Indian Express reported further. The transgression was noticed on July 19 last year, when officials from Chamoli district, who were visiting Barahoti, saw the Chinese troops.
Barahoti is one of the three prominent border posts in the region that comprises Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Here ITBP jawans are not allowed to carry weapons and are present in civilian clothes under a unilateral decision taken by the Central government in June 2000, a PTI report said.