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IAF Copter Crash in Tawang Area- As Reported by Chinese Media

An M-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed near Tawang in India’s Arunachal Pradesh on November 19,2010, killing all the 12 persons—11 from the Indian Air Force including the two pilots, and a Lt.Col from the Army—who were on board.

2. “The Hindu” of Chennai quoting Indian defence sources reported that “the chopper, bound for Guwahati, crashed minutes after it took off from the helipad of the Army Brigade Headquarters in Tawang at 12.04 p.m. It was on an air maintenance sortie. ” It added: “IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ranjib Sahoo, based in the Eastern Air Command headquarters in Shillong, told The Hindu that all the bodies have been retrieved from the crash site, about 10 km from Tawang. A court of inquiry has been ordered.”

3. The Government-controlled Xinhua news agency of China disseminated two different versions of the news about the crash—-one for the English language media of China and the other for the Chinese language media.

4. The version for the English language media stated as follows: ” According to AFP news, an Indian military transport helicopter in the northeast, in the border areas crashed, killing all 12 people.The plane is Russian-made military helicopter . It crashed shortly after take-off. The cause of the accident may be due to local weather. Indian Defense Ministry spokesman told the media that 12 people were on the helicopter.There were no survivors. All the dead bodies have been found.” ( My comment: This English version has been taken from a Chinese blog. This has not yet been carried by the English language editions of the “Global Times”, the “People’s Daily” and the ” China Daily”)

5. The Chinese language version, as translated in Chinese blogs, stated as follows: ” Press Trust of India quoting Indian military sources reported that 12 o’clock noon, local time, the Indian Air Force transport helicopter Mi -17 in the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” fell to the ground.Two pilots and 9 flight trainees killed . Indian Air Force has ordered a cause of the accident investigation. The so-called “Arunachal Pradesh” is located in southern Tibet, China, which has always been Chinese territory. China’s repeated solemn declaration that China never recognized the illegal “McMahon Line” and the Indian authorities in February 1987 announced the establishment of the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh.” Unquote .

( The writer, Mr B.Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt.of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

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