A month after being on the brink of a bilateral meltdown, Pakistan media seems to be now playing up a new angle that throws more light into the IAF helicopter crash that killed six IAF personnel on February 27. Pakistan media are increasingly highlighting the fact that an initial probe is looking at the possibilities of India shooting down its own Mi-17V5 helicopter with an Israeli-made missile as it attempted to push off Pakistani fighter jets that entered Indian air space. 

Pakistan media have quoted a report by Economic Times, which first reported about such a possibility. Apparently, Indian investigators are examining the sequence of events which preceded the crash to ascertain if a missile fired from the Indian side led to the downing of the IAF helicopter in Budgam on February 27, the day when Pakistan fighter jets violated Indian airspace in response of India's Balakot airstrike.

"Sources said that the missile—believed to be of Israeli origin—was activated after an air defence alert was sounded over Jammu and Kashmir, besides other parts of the border, after a over 25 Pakistani air force jets were detected along the border on the morning of February 27," Economic Times said in its report. "The alert, sources said, indicated that Pakistani jets may be trying to breach the border for a strike on Indian military targets and there were concerns that armed UAVs available with that country may also have been deployed. A slow moving target like the Mi-17V5 helicopter could potentially be mistaken for a low flying armed UAV homing into an air base, according to these sources."

It is this report that has now given a new impetus to the Pakistan media, pinning the blame on the Indian side. For Pakistan, the claim is a double-edge sword—shame both India and its close ally Israel at once. Early this month, Pakistan media had cited a high-ranking government source as saying that India had plotted a “dangerous attack” from its Rajasthan airbase on Pakistan with help from Israel.

The Mi-17V5 chopper reportedly crashed in the 10-minute span when IAF jets were engaged in an aerial battle with the Pakistan Air Force fighters, along the Line of Control in the Nowshera sector, and air defence systems were on operational alert. Command and control systems were under immense pressure as reports of attempted intrusions were sounded along the border in the aftermath of the Balakot airstrike.

An investigation has been launched into the incident to determine if multiple layers of safeguards meant to protect assets from friendly fire failed and how systems need to be improved to prevent any such incident in the future, the report said.