The shooting down of his own Mi-17 V5 helicopter in occupied Kashmir with a surface-to-air missile has led to the dismissal of a group captain by the Indian Air Force.
Following the incident, in which a Soviet-designed military chopper was hit by an Indian missile while returning to Srinagar on the day of armed clashes between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India, a court of inquiry was established.
At least seven people, including six Indian army personnel, were killed in the deadly blunder, and a general court-martial has ordered Suman Roy Chowdhury’s removal from office, according to Indian media reports.
The investigation found that the helicopter’s ‘Identification of Friend or Foe’ (IFF) system was not working, resulting in miscommunication. The mechanism that aids air defence radars in determining whether an aircraft or helicopter is friendly or hostile had been turned off.
The incident occurred after a dogfight between Pakistani and Indian forces, which saw Pakistan Air Force jets engage two Indian warplanes and shoot them down along the Line of Control (LoC) in 2019.
In the Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector, Pakistan captured one Indian pilot after an aerial engagement. The downed pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was seen in a video of what appears to be an interview at a Pakistani air base, where he praised the professionalism of the Pakistan Army but denied sharing any sensitive information.
Wing Commander Nauman Ali Khan shot down Varthaman’s MiG 21 Bison, which crashed on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, while the second IAF fighter jet, a Sukhoi Su-30, shot down by Sqn Leader Hassan Siddiqui, landed on the Indian side.