Two fighter jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in the state of Madhya Pradesh during routine drills, Indian media reported on Saturday.
According to Indian media, a search and rescue operation was underway. However, details of casualties hadn’t been received till the filing of this report.
The downed Indian Air Force jets included a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 which had taken off from the Gwalior Air Force base. The videos of the wrecked jets’ debris scattered on the ground in Morena area surfaced soon after the crash.
Meanwhile, the Indian military has set up a Court of Inquiry to probe the incident. The body will inquire whether the two jets witnessed mid-air collision.
“The Su-30 had 2 pilots while Mirage 2000 had one pilot during the crash. Initial reports suggest 2 pilots are safe while an IAF chopper reaching the location of the third pilot soon,” Indian media reported.
Five army soldiers were killed last October when their helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh state, near the country’s militarised and disputed border with China.
It was the second Indian military chopper crash in the northeastern state that month, coming weeks after a Cheetah helicopter came down near the town of Tawang, killing its pilot.
India’s defence chief, General Bipin Rawat, was among 13 people killed when his Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter crashed while transporting him to an air force base in December 2021.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is grappling with the urgent task of overhauling India’s outdated armed forces.
Its military establishment is fretting over a growing assertiveness by China along its vast Himalayan frontier, which in 2019 sparked a lingering diplomatic freeze after a deadly high-altitude confrontation between troops of both countries.
India unveiled its first locally built aircraft carrier last year as part of government efforts to build an indigenous defence industry and reduce reliance on Russia, historically its most important arms supplier.