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Third time Indian pilots landed inside Pak territory

New Delhi: It was probably for the third time that Indian pilots have landed inside Pakistani territory and have come back safely after an Army chopper on Sunday inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (LoC) due to "inclement" weather.

"I can recall two earlier incidents where Indian pilots landed inside Pakistan during war times and were taken as Prisoners of War (PoW) but then returned safely. "First was during 1965 war when Air Marshal Sikand, then Sqn Ldr and second time when Flt Lt K Nachiketa was shot down over Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) during the Kargil war," Air Marshal (retd.) A K Singh told PTI here.

Singh, who was Western Air Commander till 2007, also took part in the Kargil war as the in-charge of air operations of the command.He said on both the occasions, the pilots were released after remaining in captivity for relatively a longer time as they were taking part in war operations and were on enemy territory.

Flt Lt Nachiketa was taken as a prisoner by the Pakistan Army on 27 May 1999 following ejection from his MiG-27 aircraft after suffering engine flame-out and sent back to India on June 3, 1999 after being interrogated by the authorities there. "In today`s incident, the two pilots had strayed into their territory due to inclement weather and there is no war or war-like situation between the two sides. The helicopter was also not meant for any kind of reconnaissance mission," Singh said.

The former Commander said during the 2005 earthquake relief operations, there were a few instances where Pakistani choppers had strayed over the Line of Control (LoC) over to the Indian side but since it was for humanitarian effort, no one objected to it.

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