The death of India's defence chief in a helicopter crash not only exposed the Indian military's lack of discipline and combat preparedness, but also dealt a heavy blow to the country's military modernization that could linger for a long time, Chinese experts said on Thursday. But even with India's anti-China top defines figure gone, the country's aggressive posture toward China along the two countries' border regions is unlikely to change, analysts said.

A Mi-17V5 helicopter affiliated with the Indian Air Force had crashed near southern India's Coonoor, leading to the death of 13 of the 14 people on board, including defence chief General Bipin Rawat, India TV News reported, citing a statement released by the Indian Air Force.

Indian media reports just days after the incident reported, speculated that the cause could be the foggy weather, an entanglement in power lines, a mechanical failure or the wrong height at which the chopper began its descent.

Recently, the tri-service inquiry ordered into the ill-fated chopper crash which killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat and others is complete with officials indicating the probable cause to be Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). The report determined that disorientation of the crew due to poor weather was the likely cause of the crash.

The findings have been sent for legal vetting. It will take about 10 to 15 days for finalisation.

Chinese social media users have shared a graphic highlighting the number of IAF planes that had crashed last year. The post with the caption “Indian Air Force in 2021” was shared by a Chinese Twitter handle, who seems to be a sympathizer of the Chinese Communist Party. Chinese Twitter accounts have been using propaganda to undermine and defame the Indian armed forces in the past few years. 

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Mi-17V5 is an improved version of the Mi-17, and is equipped with more powerful engines and advanced electronic devices, making it supposedly more reliable.

However, China is not the only country which tries to smear the Indian armed forces, several ISI based Pakistan social media handles also joined this fake narrative.

Yusuf Unjhawala, the Editor of the popular Indian Defence Forum website gave a fitting repartee to this vile propaganda, he tweeted, “Unlike China, which conceals crashes and pilot deaths, India doesn’t hide. While the truth about what happened in Galwan is still being concealed, India, as a democratic country, stays transparent about it.”.

China has a long history of propagating false information against India. After India’s Chief of Defence General Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash last month, the Chinese state-run media, Global Times, questioned the Indian military’s lack of discipline and war readiness.

In addition, the Indian Air Force’s modernization plans were also criticized by the publication. Despite the diatribe by China and Pakistan, 2021 has been one of the worst years for the IAF in recent times, with 11 crashes and 22 deaths.