Report: India Planning to Seek Israel’s Help in Underwater Search for Missing Army Helicopter Pilots
India is set to ask Israel for assistance in the search for two pilots whose army helicopter crashed in a reservoir, Indian online news outlet ThePrint reported Tuesday, citing defense and security sources.
The helicopter crashed and sank in the Ranjit Sagar Dam reservoir in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district on August 3, and a search has been underway for the pilots ever since, to no avail.
One of the main impediments to the search is the depth of the reservoir, with Indian equipment unable to descend far enough to complete the search.
Although the country has deep-sea search equipment, it is too large and bulky to be used in a relatively small body of water.
The bottom of the reservoir is apparently too deep for divers, and requires specialized vessels, compression chambers, and similar equipment, ThePrint stated.
The sources cited by ThePrint indicated that India believes Israel possesses the equipment that would meet the requirements of the search, and plans to ask the Jewish state for assistance.
Collaboration between India and Israel, especially on defense issues, has been increasing for decades, especially under the tenure of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz indicated that this trend was continuing under Israel’s new government, saying on Twitter, “This morning I met with Indian Ambassador to Israel, HE Singla for a fruitful discussion about deepening Israel-India defense and industrial ties. This meeting comes on the heels of an excellent call that I had with my Indian counterpart just two weeks ago.”
“We reviewed global and regional challenges, as well as the numerous tactical threats that Israel faces on all fronts,” Gantz said. “We also discussed various areas of collaboration in defense R&D, mil-to-mil cooperation, & exchanges in information and expertise.”