New Delhi: IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria has said that the Mi-17 chopper crash in Srinagar on February 27 was caused after it was hit by an Indian missile by mistake.
He described the IAF shooting down its helicopter in Kashmir on February 27 as a "big mistake", when Indian and Pakistani forces engaged in a dogfight, and said punitive action is being taken against the guilty.
The operational preparedness of the IAF has been of a very high order and it achieved a number of operational milestones last year, including the Balakot strikes, Bhadauria said at the Indian Air Force's annual press conference.
"Court of Inquiry completed and it was our mistake as our missile had hit our own chopper. We will take action against two officers. We accept this was our big mistake and we will ensure such mistakes are not repeated in future," said Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, reported ANI
The IAF is prepared to meet any contingency and does not rest on past laurels, Bhadauria said.
Ahead of the press conference, the IAF also showed representational video clips of the Balakot strikes.
Pakistan lost an F-16 and India a MiG-21 in aerial engagement with the Pakistan Air Force a day after the Balakot strikes, IAF chief Bhadauria said.
Talking about the IAF shooting down its own Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam on the morning of February 27, he said it was a "big mistake on our part".
A Court of inquiry has submitted its report and the IAF is taking punitive action against the guilty, he said.
Disciplinary action is being taken against two officers in the shooting down of the chopper, the IAF chief said.
A surface-to-air missile of the Indian Air Force brought down the Mi-17 aircraft in Kashmir's Budgam on the morning of February 27 when the Indian and Pakistani air forces were engaged in a fierce dogfight, a high-level probe had concluded in August.
Bhadauria also said acquisition of Rafale aircraft and S400 air defence systems will greatly enhance IAF's operational capabilities.