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China: Official Chinese Language Media Note Indian Helcopter Mishap in "Southern Tibet"

The Chinese language version of the People’s Daily-affiliated Global Times,, carries a report (1 May 2011) captioned “ One Indian helicopter with a senior high official aboard missing in Southern Tibet region”, contributed by its correspondent Zhu Yingku.

Quoting from a despatch dated 1 May 2011 of the Central News Agency of Taiwan, the report notes the disappearance of the helicopter in dense jungles on 30 April 2011 and the beginning of search operations, involving two Indian air force Mi-17 choppers, only next day due to bad weather conditions. It further says that the scope of the search operations includes Bhutan territory bordering “Tawang region of China’s Southern Tibet, called by India as Arunachal Pradesh”. Stating that Indian helicopter mishaps had occurred in Tawang area in September 2009 and November 2010, and of late on 19 April 2011, the report observes that the latest missing helicopter belongs to the “state-owned Pawan Hans Helicopter Company” and is of the same type as AS-350 B-3 helicopters being built by the European EUROCOPTER Company.


(i)What should not be missed is that even while reporting on such air mishaps, the Chinese official media do not fail to project China’s claims over India’s Arunachal Pradesh, on Tawang in particular.

(ii) In connection with the report in question, it may be useful to pay attention to what a Chinese language blog ( Yadong Junshi, examined in Chennai Centre for China Studies Paper No. 633 dated 19 October 2010) had sated (16 October 2010).Quoting Russian and American reports, it claimed that “on 9 June 2009, China’s HQ 9 Air Defence unit brought down a Falcon Aircraft of the Indian military, in the country’s Southern Tibet border”, thereby conveying an implied message that China has capacity to target Indian flights operating across the border.

( The writer, Mr D.S.Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai,

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